Lobos @ Arkansas, 6 p.m. MT - LIVE STATS
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of New Mexico volleyball team opened its season with a 3-0 (25-21, 29-27, 25-23) win over UMKC on Friday afternoon at the University of Arkansas Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. The Lobos face the Razorbacks at 6 p.m. MT tonight. Arkansas opened the tournament with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-27) win over Northwestern State on Friday.
“Our returners really played well,” head coach Jeff Nelson said. “Both of our middles, Lexi Ross and Elsa Krieg, had big matches and came up with big points. Chantale Riddle started right where she left off last year. She hit .450 and had 15 kills. I think Hannah Johnson distributed the offense much better than we were doing last season at this time. Our freshman came out a little nervous, but they got better as the match went on.”
Riddle, a red shirt junior led all players in the match with 15 kills on 32 swings and only one error.
Ross, a senior, had 11 kills on 18 swings and also committed just one error (.556) while Krieg, a redshirt sophomore, had nine kills in 16 attempts and made two errors (.438).
Johnson had 38 set assists and 14 digs. The redshirt sophomore helped the Lobos hit .300 (48k-15e-110ta).
“I think we did a really good job playing as a team,” Johnson said. “We had really good passing and I think that was what kept us in the game.
“Lexi and Elsa really had a good game. They helped give Chantale an open net and for us to get the kills we needed from her as well as to give Cassie and Julia a chance to get some kills,” Johnson said.
Freshmen Cassie House and Julia Warren were in the starting lineup for their collegiate debuts. House had four kills while Warren had eight kills, eight digs and one block assist.
“We got to see some really good things,” Nelson said. “We got behind and then had to come back – we had a really good five-point come back [in the third set]. We had a game where the other team had set point and we had to come back and win from that [in the second set].
“UMKC is a good team. They play fast and ran a lot of double quicks. I will say we need to serve tougher as we move forward, but I thought we handled it pretty well and stepped up on the big points,” Nelson said.
Set One – Lobos 25, UMKC 21
The Lobos were the first to make it on the board in their opening match of the season thanks to a kill by Ross who capitalized on an overpass by UMKC. New Mexico held the lead the rest of the first set. The Kangaroos hung close for the first few rallies, but Ross and Riddle took over at the net. Ross hit .800 on the set with four kills while Riddle tallied seven on 16 swings and was error free (.438).
Set Two – Lobos 29, UMKC 27
The second set went point-for-point almost the entire way as the Lobos cooled off at the net and the Kangaroos showed more consistency than in game one. The set saw 17 ties and eight lead changes, and came down to the final points. UMKC had the Lobos at set point, 23-24, but a kill by Riddle followed by a botched pass by the ‘Roos gave the Lobos set point, 25-24. The teams traded points until a kill by Krieg followed by a back-row kill by Warren gave the Lobos the set, 29-27.
Set Three – Lobos 25, UMKC 23
The third set featured big runs by both teams. UMKC took off on a 9-3 jaunt which gave the ‘Roos a 15-9 advantage. They held a six-point lead to 17-11 until a kill from Riddle sparked a 6-0 run that featured two kills from Warren, a kill from Krieg and a service ace from Lovato. At 17-all, point trading ensued all the way to a 23-23 mark. A kill by Ross followed by an ace by Maddie Mayfield gave the Lobos the set, 25-23, and match 3-0.