All-time record vs. Air Force: 29-3
Last meeting: The Lobos topped Air Force, 3-2 at USAFA on Nov. 1, 2012
Lobo record at USAFA: 5-2
Milestones: Senior Libero Miquella Lovato recorded her 1,000th dig early in the third set against NAU on Sept. 14
Four Lobos Rank Top-67 Nationally: Ross is No. 37 for hitting percentage (.465); Riddle is No. 35 for kills/set (4.10) & No. 23 for points/set (4.84); Lovato is No. 67 for digs/set (4.84) & Johnson is No. 61 for assists/set (10.55)
Lobos ranked top-100 in stats categories: As a team the Lobos rank No. 19 for match w-l pct. (0.889), No. 58 for digs/set (15.81), No. 63 for blocks/set (2.48) and No. 99 for kills/set (13.06)
Lobos atop the Mountain West: Lobos are No. 1 in opponent hitting percentage (.102); Riddle is No. 1 among MW players for kills/set & points/set; Johnson is tied for first with six double-doubles
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico volleyball team opens Mountain West play this week with a 6 p.m. MT match at Air Force (2-8).
The Lobos are 8-1 and are currently riding a seven-match win streak. New Mexico topped Towson, 3-1, before sweeping Abilene Christian and Northern Arizona last weekend en route to winning the Lobo Invitational.
Ross led all players at the tournament in blocks, recording four solo blocks and nine block assists, a total of 13 and set average of 1.44. She added 18 kills and hit .385 (18k-3e-39ta) and also recorded two ace serves. Lovato earned her third All-Tournament accolade of the season. The Libero had 42 digs over ten sets played (4.20/set), recorded four ace serves and one kill. Lovato recorded her 1,000th career dig in the Lobos’ final match of the tournament.
Riddle earned her second-consecutive unanimous MVP honor and her third All-Tourney accolade. She led all players in kills and points with 42 (4.20/set) and 52.5 (5.25/set), respectively. Riddle was most impressive on defense, recording three solo stuffs and nine block assists for a set average of 1.20.
The Air Force Falcons enter MW play with a 2-8 non-conference record. Air Force has spent the first three weeks of the season playing on the road and is coming off a 0-3 week at the Service Academy Challenge held at The Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Sept. 12-13. The Falcons were swept by No. 8 Stanford, dropped a five-set decision to Army and lost, 3-0, to Yale.
The two wins Air Force has are over respectable opponents in Long Beach State (Sept. 6) and Navy (Sept. 11). Both matches were five-set, gut-out wins.
Sophomore outside Akokwe Clement is the Falcons' leader in kills with 95 (2.57/set) while junior middle blocker Ayesha Hein is second with 83 (2.08/set) and ranks eighth in the MW for hitting percentage with .384 accuracy.
Junior Hillary Keltner directs Air Force's offense and is ranked ninth in the league for assists with 357 (8.53/set).
The Falcons are strong from the service line, boasting the second-most ace serves per set in the league with a 1.45 average and a league-high 58 total. Senior right-side hitter Cami Richan has 14 ace serves, a set average of 0.35 which ranks her fifth among MW players.
The Lobos own a 29-3 all-time record over the Falcons. Last season the Lobos swept Air Force at home on Oct. 6, but were taken to five sets when they played at USAFA on Nov. 1 (25-17, 26-24, 20-25, 19-25, 16-14). The last time New Mexico lost to Air force was a 3-0 decision at home on Oct. 24, 2003. The Lobos’ last loss at Air Force was Sept. 26, 2003, also a 3-0 decision.
LOBO VOLLEYBALL NOTES
SO FAR IN SEPTEMBER...The Lobos have only played at home, are undefeated, have only lost two sets and have swept four teams.
SOMETHING ABOUT SATURDAYS...The Lobos are undefeated when playing on Saturday so far in 2013. They have wins over Northwestern State (Aug. 31), Georgia Tech (Sept. 7), Abilene Christian (Sept. 14) and Northern Arizona (Sept. 14).
MIDDLES MAKING IT HAPPEN...New Mexico is fortunate enough to have three middle blockers that see action regularly: Lexi Ross, Elsa Krieg and Skye Gullatt. And those three middles are making it happen this year, the strongest group of middles head coach Jeff Nelson has worked with at New Mexico. Gullatt and Ross rank No. 4 and 5, respectively in the Mountain West for blocks/set with Gullatt averaging 1.22 and Ross blocking 1.14. The three middles combined are hitting .378 with Krieg at .365 (38k-11e-74ta), Gullatt at .391 (30k-5e-64ta) and Ross at .408 (61k-10e-125ta).
SIX SWEET SWEEPS...In its first three weekends of play, New Mexico has recorded six sweeps. The Lobos started with a season-opening sweep over UMKC (Aug. 30) and continued with sweeps of Northwestern State (Aug. 31), UC Riverside (Sept. 6), Idaho State (Sept. 6), Abilene Christian (Sept. 14) and Northern Arizona (Sept. 14).
RANKED NATIONALLY FOR STATS...Through three weeks of play four Lobos are ranked for statistics in the top 67 nationally : Lexi Ross is No. 36 for hitting percentage, boasting a .408; Chantale Riddle is No.23 for points/set with 4.84 and No. 35 for kills/set with 4.10; Hannah Johnson is No. 61 in assists/set with 10.55 and Miquella Lovato is No. 67 in digs/set with 4.65.
SHE'LL 'DIGGITY'; NO DOUBT...Lobo Libero Miquella Lovato is averaging 4.65 digs-per-set and there’s not much the senior misses in the back court, leaving no doubt in her teammates’ minds she’s protecting the court. She recorded her 1,000th career dig early in the third set against Northern Arizona on Sept. 14, becoming the 13th Lobo to reach the milestone. Her season-high is 23, which came in a sweep of Northwestern State on Aug. 31. Her career-high is 27, which she did twice last year; first in a 3-2 win over UALR on Sept. 14 and the other in a 3-1 loss at Fresno State on Sept. 27. Lovato is second in the league for digs-per-set, trailing Wyoming senior Libero Becky Stewart who averages 5.08.
Other Lobos to reach the 1,000 dig mark: Allison Buck, 1,630 (2008-11); Gayle Tripp 1,566 (2005-08); Sharon Browning, 1,504 (1989-92); Lisa Meeter, 1,130 (2007-10); Tania Gooley, 1,113 (1991-94); Alicia Bergmann, 1,059 (1992-95); Maria Gurreri 1,048 (1987-90); Gretchen Gegenfurtner, 1,048 (1993-96); Nao Ikeda, 1,020 (1986-89); Paula Feathers, 1,019 (1995-98); and Janelle Torres, 1,005 (1996-99).
RIDDLE LEADING MW IN KILLS & POINTS...Redshirt junior Chantale Riddle leads the league in kills and in points with set averages of 4.10 and 4.84, respectively. The Lobos’ top offensive player led the league in both categories a majority of last season and finished as the league leader.
YOU GOT SWATTED...Nothing seems to pump the Lobos up more than a big block, particularly from sophomore Skye Gullatt. The middle blocker is fourth among Mountain West players in blocks with a set average of 1.22. In 18 sets played Gullatt has eight solo stuffs and 14 block assists.
JOHNSON 6-FOR-8 IN DOUBLE DOUBLES...Redshirt junior Hannah Johnson had a double-double in all three of the Lobos’ opening weekend matches in Arkansas, tallied another in New Mexico’s home opening match on Sept. 6 and two more at the Lobo Invitational, Sept. 13-14. She is tied for first among MW players in the category.
BALANCED 'BOS...Thirteen Lobo players saw action over the three matches in the Sheraton Airport Lobo Classic, Sept. 6-7 and fourteen played in the Lobo Invitational, Sept. 13-14. Head coach Jeff Nelson says this year’s squad is one of the most balanced he’s had in recent years and feels he can rotate players without New Mexico’s level of play dropping. It’s a credit to the high level of play the six newcomers have brought to the squad.
FEEL THAT FRESHMEN IMPACT...The biggest impact the newcomers have had is in the outside (L1 and L2) positions. Julia Warren is a six-rotation outside who is averaging 2.20 kills/set and 2.53 digs/set. Freshmen Cassie House and Devanne Sours have seen equal action in the front row as outside hitters. House averages 1.47 kills/set and has one block assist while Sours is averaging 1.74 kills/set and has a block solo and two block assists. Maddie Mayfield fills in in the back row for House or Sours and the La Cueva graduate is average 1.81 digs/set and co-leads the team and is ranked No. 8 in the Mountain West in ace serves with nine (Miquella Lovato also has nine).