Buck Rejoins Program as Director of Operations
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Jeff Nelson's 2013 Lobo squad opens its season on the road at the University of Arkansas Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., Friday and Saturday.
New Mexico, who was picked to finish fifth in the Mountain West preseason poll, plays three matches in its opening weekend, starting with UMKC at 12 p.m. MT before taking on the Razorbacks at 6 p.m. MT on Friday. The Lobos play Northwestern State at 3 p.m. MT on Saturday to close out the weekend.
"We play three teams that had great seasons last year," Nelson said. "Our feature match there is the Arkansas match. They are a really good volleyball team that is led by a senior setter who sets for the Puerto Rican National team and does a great job. We'll have our hands full."
The Lobos historically do well on opening day. Since 1980, New Mexico has a 28-17 opening day record. Since Nelson took over in 2007, the Lobos are 6-1.
UMKC returns nine letterwinners from its 2012 squad that went 17-13 last year and made it to the Summitt League Championships. Of the nine returners, five starters plus the Libero were regular starters. The Kangaroos welcome five newcomers.
Arkansas went 22-10 overall last season and made it to the first round of the NCAA Tournament before dropping a 3-2 decision to Wichita State. The Razorbacks return nine letterwinners, including two starters plus their Libero and welcome seven newcomers.
Northwestern State (Natchitoches, La.) went 20-6 last season. The Lady Demons return nine letterwinners -- five of which were starters-- and welcome five newcomers.
"All three matches will be good. It's a good start for us out there," Nelson said. "We'll play in front of a big crowd and learn to work through that and all the things we need to to get better for conference play."
2013 PRESEASON NOTES
Final 2012 Record: 20-13
2012 MW Record: 7-9
2013 Preseason MW Poll: Fifth
Opening day record (since 1980): 28-17
Opening day record under Nelson: 6-1
All-time record vs. UMKC: First meeting
All-time record vs. Arkansas: First meeting
All-time record vs. Northwestern State: First meeting
LOBO RETURNERS - New Mexico returns seven letterwinners from the 2012 campaign with five of the seven, plus the libero, being regular starters last season. Redshirt junior Chantale Riddle is the top returner. The Roswell, N.M., native led the Lobos at the net and had a record-setting season en route to earning numerous accolades: All-Mountain West, first team All-District, honorable mention All-America and second team All-National (COBRA magazine). Redshirt sophomore Hannah Johnson is UNM’s top returning setter. The Longview, Wash., native led the Lobos and was 10th in the MW in assists with 646. Defensively, the Lobos will lean on senior libero Miquella Lovato, who despite missing three MW contests last season, led the league with 4.17 digs/set in conference play and was named MW Designated Libero.
LOBO NEWCOMERS - The Lobos welcome six newcomers: Cassie House (Rio Rancho, N.M./Cleveland HS), Maddie Mayfield (Albuquerque, N.M./La Cueva HS), Danielle Ortiz (Los Alamos, N.M./Los Alamos HS), Lise Rugland (Tananger, Norway/Sauda Vidergaende Skole, dept. ToppVolley Norway), Devanne Sours (Tatum, N.M./Tatum HS) and Julia Warren (Albuquerque, N.M./Hope Christian). The handful of newcomers will give the Lobos several lineup options.
RIDDLE AND LOVATO NAMED PRESEASON ALL-MW
Junior Chantale Riddle and senior Miquella Lovato were named to the 2013 Preseason All-MW Team as announced by the conference on Aug. 20. Riddle, a right-side hitter, and Lovato, UNM’s Libero, were both 2012 All-MW honorees who led the conference in their respective areas. Riddle was also named All-District first team and All-America honorable mention last season. New Mexico and San Diego State were the only schools to have more than one player named to the Preseason All-MW list, landing two apiece. It’s the first time since 2011 the Lobos have had a student-athlete earn preseason accolades.
ARKANSAS AND OPENINGS
While the Lobos’ second match of the season will be the first meeting between New Mexico and Arkansas, three times since 1980 the Lobos’ opening weekend has either happened in the state of Arkansas or featured a match against an Arkansas institution. The most recent Arkansas opening-weekend encounter was in 2008 when Central Arkansas was the Lobos’ season-opening match as part of the MCM Elegante Lobo Classic held in the Johnson Center. UNM downed the Sugar Bears, 3-0. In 1999, New Mexico opened its season with a tournament hosted by Arkansas State. The Lobos went 3-2 in the tourney, with one of their two losses coming at the hands of the Red Wolves, 0-3. The Lobos opened against Arkansas State in 1996 and took the match, 3-0.
BALANCED ATTACK HELPS CURRENT LOBOS TOP FORMER LOBOS, 3-0
It was the younger team of Lobos who were victorious in the annual Lobo volleyball alumnae match on Aug. 24 in the Johnson Center. The current Lobos topped the former Lobos in three-straight sets, 25-12, 25-14 and 25-23, and added a fourth-set win, 25-13, just for good measure. All 14 Lobos saw time on the court. Head coach Jeff Nelson used a variety of lineups and each time, the current Lobos were able to prevail. Chantale Riddle recorded a match-high 20 kills in only three sets played. The redshirt junior nearly had a double-double as she also tallied nine digs and five block assists. Riddle was backed by freshmen Cassie House and Julia Warren who had seven and six kills, respectively. Warren added ten digs while House two block assists. Redshirt sophomore setter Hannah Johnson dished out 45 assists while senior Libero Miquella Lovato had 16 digs. Skye Gullatt was a force on defense, recording a match-high seven total blocks in three sets played.
BUCK REJOINS PROGRAM AS DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Former Lobo standout Allison Buck was hired as the interim director of operations for Lobo volleyball on Aug. 29. Buck, a native of Camas, Wash., was a standout defensive specialist and Libero on the Lobo volleyball team from 2008-11, earning a number of accolades her junior and senior season, including AVCA All-America honorable mention honors in 2011. She was also a First Team All-West Region in 2011, two-time Mountain West Volleyball All-Conference honoree in 2010 and 2011, and set New Mexico’s single-season record for digs with 561 (in 2011) as well as the program record for career digs with 1,630. She served as a team captain her senior year. Buck excelled in the classroom and was a four-time MW Academic All-Conference award recipient. She graduated in May 2012 with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education with a focus in social studies. Buck served as the facility coordinator for New Mexico Juniors Volleyball Club from October 2012 to August 2013. As the volleyball director of operations, she will oversee and coordinate administrative functions as well as support the day-to-day operation of the team and program. Buck assists with student-athlete volunteering and development activities, fiscal and budgetary management, facilities and resources management, NCAA compliance requirements and other special projects as assigned.
WE THREE SENIORS
Miquella Lovato, Lexi Ross and Lena Skipper embark on their senior season. The veteran players will anchor a team that is half newcomers and half returners. Lovato had an award-winning season last year as she was named the 2012 MW Designated Libero. Ross played in every match last season and made 29 starts, playing mostly as a middle blocker, but also as an outside hitter and serving as the libero for one match. Ross led the team and was seventh in the league in ace serves, tallying 30. Skipper joined New Mexico in 2012, played in all 33 matches and made 31 starts. She was second on the team in kills with 233 and recorded six double-doubles.
THREE LOBOS WITH NATIONAL ACCOLADES
Three of the 15 Lobos on this year’s roster have earned All-America honors. Chantale Riddle earned AVCA All-America honorable mention as a redshirt sophomore last season while freshmen Devanne Sours and Julia Warren earned national accolades as seniors in high school. Both earned All-America distinction by MaxPreps.com while Warren was named to the Under Armour Girls’ High School All-America second team.
WE REALLY ARE NEW MEXICO
Eight of the 15 student-athletes on the 2013-14 Lobo volleyball roster hail from New Mexico. It’s a testament to the youth, club and high school volleyball in the state. Four players are from the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area: Cassie House, Maddie Mayfield, Julia Warren and Sara Stelzer while Devanne Sours (Tatum), Miquella Lovato (Pojoaque) and Danielle Ortiz (Los Alamos) represent smaller New Mexican communities.
NEW ASSISTANT COACH JJ GLAVAN
JJ Glavan joined New Mexico volleyball as an assistant coach on Aug. 5. Prior to coming to UNM, Glavan served as an assistant coach at University of Colorado Colorado Springs for three seasons. While with the Mountain Lions, he was in charge of training all positional players, scouting opponents and developing game strategies and recruiting. UCCS posted winning records both fall seasons that Glavan was on staff, going 16-12 in 2011 and 18-11 in 2012. The program also had a number of individuals receive conference, regional and national accolades over the last two seasons. Other coaching stops for Glavan include Colorado Junior Volleyball Club (2007-13) and Rampart High School (2009-11). He has also served as a summer camp instructor for a number of organizations including USA Volleyball, University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, UCCS and Colorado Juniors. Outside of coaching, Glavan worked full time as a humanities teacher at Mountain Ridge Middle School in Colorado Springs from Fall 2006 to Summer 2013. He graduated from Western State College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in history before earning his Colorado Secondary Education Certification in 2011.