LOBO FLASHBACKS: Lobo Flashbacks is a summer feature of GoLobo.com looking back on special teams, players, games or moments from the 2013-14 University of New Mexico athletic season.
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
A quarterback needs an O-line and a few running backs to really be a star and it was that way for Lobo Chantale Riddle during New Mexico’s 24-7 run through the 2013 season.
She needed help. She got it.
And although Coach Jeff Nelson had a great team with great chemistry in rolling out the program’s most wins since 1988, he also had that all-important, go-to star in Riddle. He had a hammer at the net – a hammer who could do a whole lot of other things, too.
“Everybody looks at Chantale’s kills and how dynamic a force she is at the net, but she is one of the more complete, all-around players in the nation,” said Nelson.
Sure, Riddle did all that other stuff and a dynamic dig is one of the more exciting plays in volleyball. But when Riddle soared above the net preparing to smash-mouth a volleyball down into enemy territory, it was a breath-stealing moment.
This jumping jack Lobo almost commits a felony when she attacks the ball.
In the season of 2013, Riddle attacked the ball like few Lobos before her to finish with 468 kills on 1,203 attempts. The next most active UNM attacker was Julia Warren with 618 attacks. Yes, Riddle was go-to, but there wasn’t much the opposition could do to stop her.
Her play earned Riddle a spot on the AVCA All-American Team, the AVCA All-Pacific South Region Team and also on the All-Mountain West Team. She is only the seventh Lobo player to earn AVCA All-American honors and the first since Jeanne Fairchild in 2008.
“She is such an amazing athlete,” said Nelson.
Riddle is a special offensive weapon and she will be used time and time again in the upcoming 2014 season. But she also will get down on defense – or up on defense. She had 240 digs and 104 blocks. She produced 544 points for UNM to lead the team by more than 200 points.
If you missed any of Riddle's savage smashes in 2013, you might not want to miss any in 2014. The Roswell, N.M. product enters her senior year officially vs. Seattle University and NCAA powerhouse Texas on Friday, August 29 in Johnson Center.
Be prepared to hold your breath.