Sooners Take Match From Lobos, 3-0
Sept. 15, 2012
Lobo Volleyball (12-2, 0-0 MW) - at the Oklahoma Invitational, Sept. 14-15 (Norman, Okla. - McCasland Field House)
Friday, Sept. 14: Lobos def. Arkansas-Little Rock, 3-2 (18-25, 25-20, 25-27, 25-18, 15-12)
Oklahoma's net play and defense proved to be too much for the Lobos. The Sooners had 44 kills to just 28 by UNM and put up 17 blocks to just eight by New Mexico. OU also recorded 46 digs to 28 by the Lobos.
"We struggled with basics," head coach Jeff Nelson said. "We didn't hit our serving zones and we had a tough night passing, which put us out of system and then we struggled against a their big blocks."
Despite the loss, Nelson thinks the weekend as a whole was a good one for New Mexico.
"It was hard for us coming in here this weekend having lost another player this week," Nelson said. "We were distracted and disjointed and we thought if we got out of here with two wins it'd be good. I think we're more disappointed in the way we played this match, not just that we lost, but getting out of here with two wins is a success."
Eleven consecutive matches ranks third in New Mexico volleyball history for longest winning streak. The longest winning streak in UNM volleyball history is 16 matches, as the Lobos went undefeated Oct. 11-Dec. 6, 1991.
Riddle and libero Miquella Lovato were named to the 2012 Oklahoma Invitational All-tournament team. Its the third tournament honor of the season for Riddle and second for Lovato. OU's Sallie McLaurin was named tournament MVP. McLaurin had 11 kills (.588 hitting percentage), five blocks and two digs against UNM.
Oklahoma 3, Lobos 0
The Lobos got off to a fast 5-1 start thanks to strong net play by Ashley Newman and Chantale Riddle. UNM's right-side hitter continued to give OU fits and New Mexico's lead swelled to 7-3. The Sooners weren't going to make things easy for the 'Bos, and made a run to come within one point, 10-9. Oklahoma hung around and then capitalized on a couple of Lobo miscues to take a 12-11 edge. The Sooners continued their run, tacking on four more unanswered points to push the mark to 15-11 and prompt UNM's second timeout of the game. A kill from Gunsaulus on the outside broke the Sooners' run, but then another Lobo error followed by a kill from Sallie McLaurin pushed the mark to 18-12. The Lobos couldn't recover from the hole they'd dug earlier in the set and the Sooners took game one, 25-17.
Game two began with the teams trading points. A long volley began with the game knotted at 4-4, before Skipper recorded a kill and gave the Lobos a 5-4 advantage. An out-of-bounds serve by UNM, however, followed by a kill and an ace from OU gave the home team a 7-5 edge. The Sooners controlled the net for the next few plays, which translated to a 4-0 run, pushing the mark to 11-6. Oklahoma's defense continued to thwart UNM's attempts to work its way back in the game. The Sooners put on an 11-0 run to finish the game, 25-9. OU had 10 kills to just six by the 'Bos in game two. The Sooners also outblocked the Lobos 12-2 in the set.
The third set began with three quick points for the Sooners before a Lobo kill put the Lobos on the board. OU added another point before Skye Gullatt recorded a kill on an offspeed shot, making the score 5-2. Lexi Ross pushed the Lobos to within two points on the next play, swatting down an overpass, but Oklahoma pulled away in the next few plays, using on their blocking and strong defense to run the score to 13-8 before a kill from Riddle gave the Lobos a sideout. New Mexico could only manage to put up one or two points at a time as OU's rout continued, moving the mark to 19-11, and prompting a UNM breather. New Mexico squeaked out a few points the remainder of the set, including three kills from Riddle, but a Lobo miscue ended the set and match, 25-19.
The Lobos return to Albuquerque to open Mountain West play at home, hosting Colorado State at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20 and Wyoming on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.