New Mexico hosts the Lobo Invitational (all times Mountain Standard)
Promotion: FATHER-DAUGTHER DAY - $3-ticket for fathers with their daughters. The Lobos will sign autographs and talk to fathers and daughters following the 1 p.m., match.
10:30 a.m. - Northern Arizona vs. Towson, Live Stats
1:00 p.m. - Lobos vs. Abilene Christian, Live Stats | WATCH LIVE (LoboTV/MWN)
5:00 p.m. - Towson vs. Abilene Christian, Live Stats
7:30 p.m. - Lobos vs. Northern Arizona, Live Stats | WATCH LIVE (LoboTV/MWN)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico volleyball team improved to 6-1 and won its fifth-consecutive match with a 3-1 (25-14, 25-18, 20-25, 25-17) decision over Towson (now 3-7) on Friday night, the opening day of the Lobo Invitational.
There were many good things about the match for the Lobos. They topped the Tigers in every statistical category: 42-38 kills, .218-.060 hitting percentage, 42-36 assists, 5-2 ace serves, 55-49 digs and 9.0-6.0 total blocks.
The mar on the night was a lack of focus in the third set, which cost the Lobos and prolonged the match longer than head coach Jeff Nelson thought necessary.
"We're not staying focused when we're ahead," Nelson said. "I'm really happy with the win. Towson is a very good team, they're very athletic and the matches they've lost have been to really good teams this year, but I'm worried about what's happening on our side of the net."
The Lobos hit a frigid .049 in the third game, recording just nine kills on 41 swings and making seven errors. Towson had 15 kills (.224), including eight from junior Saitaua Iosia, in the game en route to topping the Lobos 25-20. Iosia led all hitters with 17 kills.
The Lobos had nine service errors, their second-highest in a match this season. Their highest was 10 in a five-set loss at Arkansas on Aug. 30.
"We can't be that good every day in game one and then not take care of business in the rest of the match," Nelson said. "I want to see us toughen up and be better in games two and three than what I've seen in the last couple of matches."
Redshirt junior Chantale Riddle led New Mexico with 15 kills and nine digs.
Redshirt sophomore Elsa Krieg had 11 kills on 20 swings and made just two errors for a .450 hitting percentage. It was the first time this season Krieg recorded double-digits in the kill column.
"We were playing our game, we were keeping our pace and staying on them," Krieg said. "In the third game I think we just got a little frantic and our communication went down, but we came back in the fourth and did exactly what we did in the first two sets."
Setter Hannah Johnson, a redshirt sophomore, had 37 assists and 16 digs, moving her season double-double total to five.
Senior Miquella Lovato had 14 digs on the match, putting her 24 away from a career milestone of 1,000.
"I thought Miquella did a good job of being a leader and keeping people in check," Nelson said. "She didn't get as many opportunities to dig tonight, but she did a good job of being a leader."
The Lobos play two matches on Saturday, starting with Abilene Christian (3-3) at 1 p.m. MT, before closing out the Invite with a 7:30 p.m. MT, match against Northern Arizona (6-1). It is Father-Daughter Day at the Lobo Invitational. Dads with their daughters get a $3 ticket.
The Lobos took control of the net and the set in the first game and claimed a 7-2 lead early before cruising in a 25-14 win. The Lobos hit .318 in the game and held Towson to -.129.
New Mexico was cooled at the net by Towson in the second set, who opened with solid defense. But steady passing and strong serving kept the Tigers on their toes and the Lobos in control and New Mexico eventually went on a 7-3 run late in the set to claim a 19-15 lead before closing out a 25-18 set win.
The Lobos fell behind, 3-2, early in the third set and continued to trail by a point or two until making it an even 12-12. Passing was not steady for New Mexico and Towson's Iosia found seams in the Lobo block with ease.
At the 12-12 mark Towson went on a 9-2 run and pushed the score to 21-14.
Back-to-back errors by Towson snapped the spree and New Mexico took a 5-1 jaunt, but a ball handling error by the Lobos gave the momentum back to the Tigers and they were able to close the set, 25-20.
New Mexico trailed 4-3 in the fourth set before going on a 7-1 run to build a five-point cushion, 10-5 and then extending that lead to 22-10. The Tigers showed some fight at the end, going on a 6-1 run to make the score 24-17, but an off-speed shot by Krieg ended the set, 25-17, and match, 3-1.