Thursday, Sept. 26: Lobos vs. Wyoming, 7 p.m. MT | Live Stats & Live Streaming (Free)
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Saturday, Sept. 28: Lobos vs. No. 19 Colorado State, 1 p.m. MT | Live Stats
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Live Streaming: Will be provided by LoboTV via the Mountain West Network
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico volleyball team hosts its first Mountain West matches of 2013. The Lobos play Wyoming on Thursday (7 p.m. MT) before No. 19 Colorado State comes to the Johnson Center on Saturday (1 p.m. MT).
New Mexico extended its winning streak to nine matches and improved to 10-1 overall with a 3-2 win at New Mexico State on Monday, Sept. 23.
The Lobos opened Mountain West play with a 3-1 win at Air Force on Sept. 19.
Head coach Jeff Nelson feels the last two matches have helped prepare his Lobos for the upcoming battles with the Cowgirls and ranked Rams.
"Air Force has improved a lot and we were happen to get out of there with a win in four sets," Nelson said. "Our young group played in a hostile environment at Air Force and managed it well with very few serving errors.
"Monday night down at New Mexico State it was a great crowd and as always, they were all over us. We got down 2-1 in the match, and in game four we [coaches] challenged the players to come out and just play steady. We felt like when we served and passed well, we pulled away," Nelson added.
The Lobos took a 9-1 lead early in game four and ran it to a 25-12 set victory. UNM opened with a quick 6-2 lead in the deciding set and clinched a 15-10 set and match victory.
New Mexico will need to carry over the momentum they closed with against the Aggies into Thursday and Saturday as they face Wyoming and Colorado State, two of the stronger teams in the Mountain West conference this year.
"Wyoming is a very good team at the net," Nelson said. "They lead the nation in blocking and Erin Kirby is probably one of the best middles in the nation. "Colorado State is 10-0 and really playing good ball. This week will set the tone for the rest of the conference season."
Redshirt junior Chantale Riddle continues to lead New Mexico and the Mountain West in kills-per-set and points-per-set, averaging 3.80 and 4.57, respectively.
Freshman Cassie House has hit double digits in kills the last two matches, recording 11 at Air Force and a career-best 14 at New Mexico State.
Hannah Johnson leads the league in double-doubles with eight, having tallied 41 assists and 13 digs against the Aggies. Miquella Lovato is second in the league in digs-per-set with an average of 4.75.
The Lobos lead the Mountain West in opponent hitting percentage, holding adversaries to a .099.
New Mexico is second in the MW for blocks/set with 2.75 and lead the league in solo blocks with 38. Middle blocker Lexi Ross is third among MW players for blocks/set with an average of 1.32.
A WEE BIT ABOUT WYOMING
Wyoming, the No. 8 preseason pick in the Mountain West poll, is 8-5 overall and 0-1 in MW play. The Cowgirls are the No. 1 blocking team in the nation, averaging 3.17 blocks-per-set.
Wyoming is coming off a 1-2 week, suffering a 1-3 loss at then-No. 22 Colorado State on Sept. 18 before topping UC Riverside, 3-1, and losing to Utah Valley, 1-3, on Sept. 20 in Colorado Springs.
The Cowgirls returned eight letterwinners from last year’s squad, including four starters plus the Libero. Wyoming opened the season with six consecutive wins.
In addition to being the No. 1 blocking team in the nation, the Cowgirls also have the No. 1 individual blocker in the nation in senior middle blocker Erin Kirby, who stuffs at a set average of 1.98. Senior Libero Becky Stewart leads the MW and is No. 23 in the nation in digs-per-set with an average of 5.14. As a team, Wyoming holds opponents to a .185 hitting percentage, which is third-best in the MW. Bottom line, the Cowgirls’ strength is their defense.
Redshirt freshman outside hitter Mikaela Ryshytylo averages 2.77 kills-per-set while Kirby adds 2.58 and Reese Plante averages 2.44. Kirby hits at a .349 clip while Plante hits with .373 accuracy.
Freshman Courtney Chacon handles setting duties for UW and averages 9.71 assists-per-set.
SERIES NOTES VS. WYOMING
All-time: Wyoming leads, 38-31
Under Nelson: Lobos lead, 8-5
Last season: Lobos won, 3-1, at home on Sept. 22, and lost, 1-3, at Wyoming on Nov. 21
At home: Lobos are 17-16
In three sets: 12-12
In four sets: Wyoming leads, 14-10
In five sets: Wyoming leads, 9-10
Last five matches: Lobos are 1-4
Last 10 matches: Lobos are 6-4
READ UP ON THE RANKED RAMS
Mountain West preseason No. 2 Colorado State is 10-0 and enters the week ranked No. 19 in the nation, moving up three places after sweeping Wyoming and Texas A&M at home last week. CSU plays at Air Force on Sept. 26.
Of their ten victories, six have been sweeps and four have gone to four sets. CSU has yet to go to five sets in 2013.
The Rams returned nine letterwinners from last year’s team that went 21-8 overall and finished 13-3 in the Mountain West and tied with San Diego State for the conference title. CSU went to the NCAA Tournament but lost in the first round.
Entering the week, Colorado State is top-five in the nation in winning percentage (one of seven teams in the nation that is undefeated), kills per set (4th; 15.24) and assists-per-set (13.85). They’re also No. 7 in the nation in hitting percentage with a .322 and 21st in blocks-per-set with 2.72.
Redshirt junior Deedra Foss is the floor general for Colorado State. The setter leads the league and is third in the nation in assist-per-set with an average of 12.32.
Three Rams average 3.04 kills-per-set or better with Michelle Lawrence at 3.04, Marlee Reynolds at 3.26 and Adrianna Culbert at 3.47.
SERIES NOTES VS. COLORADO STATE
All-time: CSU leads, 45-23
Under Nelson: Lobos trail, 2-10
Last season: Lobos won, 3-2, at home on Sept. 20, and lost, 1-3, at Colorado State on Nov. 23
At home: Lobos are 13-17
In three sets: 8-28
In four sets: 8-11
In five sets: 5-6
Last five matches: Lobos are 2-3
Last 10 matches: Lobos are 2-8
LOBO VOLLEYBALL NOTES
A RESPECTABLE STREAK, BUT NOT THE RECORD...While nine-consecutive wins is respectable, it is not the Lobo record. It actually ranks tied for sixth in program history for longest win streak. The most consecutive wins for the Lobos is 16, done Oct. 11-Dec. 6, 1991. Last season the Lobos won 11 straight, which ranks third in program history for win streaks and is the longest streak recorded by a UNM team coached by Nelson. SO FAR IN SEPTEMBER...The Lobos are undefeated at 7-0, haven’t lost at home (6-0), have lost just five sets and have swept four teams.
SOMETHING ABOUT SATURDAYS...The Lobos are undefeated when playing on Saturday. They have wins over Northwestern State (Aug. 31), Georgia Tech (Sept. 7), Abilene Christian (Sept. 14) and Northern Arizona (Sept. 14). Their next Saturday match is Sept. 28 at home against Colorado State.
SEVENTY-THREE PERCENT CHANCE...Redshirt junior Hannah Johnson has a Mountain West-best eight double-doubles in the Lobos’ first 11 matches of the season, which means there’s a 73-percent chance she’ll double-double when she steps on the court. SHE'LL 'DIGGITY' NO DOUBT...Lobo Libero Miquella Lovato is averaging 4.75 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 26, which came in UNM’s 3-2 win at New Mexico State on Sept. 23. 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 5.14. 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 2.15 kills/set and 2.28 digs/set. Freshmen Cassie House and Devanne Sours have seen equal action in the front row as outside hitters. House averages 1.89 kills/set and has led the Lobos in that category the last two matches, while Sours is averaging 1.50 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 averaging 1.82 digs/set and leads the team in ace serves with 10.
WARREN THE TARGET...Freshman Julia Warren is often the serving target for opposing teams having received 328 times. The freshman has handled the pressure well with a serve-receive percentage of .957, committing just 14 errors on the first pass over 11 matches.
Most of her botched passes were in the first weekend at the Arkansas Invitational as Warren has committed just five errors on serve-receive since that tournament (in the last eight matches).