New Mexico Improves to 15-2 with Four-Set Win Over CSUB
Sept. 26, 2012
New Mexico Lobos Volleyball (15 -2, 2-0 MW)- On the Road @ Fresno State and UNLV
Wednesday, Sept. 26: Lobos def. CSU Bakersfield, (20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-20)
Jeff Nelson earned his 350th career win with a 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-20) victory at CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday night.
It's the third-straight match the Lobos have dropped the first set and managed to come back and get the win. New Mexico is 6-1 in matches in which they lose the opening set.
It was another battle for New Mexico as the Lobos were down to nine healthy players. Junior libero Miquella Lovato was out with a respiratory infection.
"In game one we were really battling with another new lineup," Nelson said. "To come back and win the next three is huge. I couldn't be more proud of the team. Liberos are a huge part of a team and to be playing without one and playing with only nine players is tough. For the way we came back and controlled games three and four is great.
"We're a team that works hard and we made some really uncharacteristic mistakes in the back row. There was a lot of stress in the back row, but we got better as the match went on."
The Lobos got another outstanding effort from redshirt sophomore Chantale Riddle. The right-side hitter led all players with 17 kills, four blocks and six digs. Alijah Gunsaulus added 13 kills and Lena Skipper recorded 13 digs.
"Chantale really picked it up and led us again," Nelson said. "Lexi, too, picked it up and did good things for us late in the match."
Lexi Ross added seven kills and six digs.
The Lobos face Fresno State at 8 p.m. MT on Thursday, Sept. 27. Fresno State is 8-6 overall and 1-1 in Mountain West play. The Bulldogs won an exhibition match, 3-2, on Tuesday evening against Fresno Pacific.
"Sometimes wins aren't pretty, but they're hard fought," Nelson said of win No. 350. "We deserved this win. We had a rough crowd we were playing against."
Nelson says he's thankful he's reached two milestones (100th Lobo career win on Sept. 7 and tonight's 350th career win) with this year's squad.
"With all of the things that have happened, they've been fun to coach, they've been focused and they've played hard," Nelson said. "That makes it that much more special."
First set - CSUB 25, Lobos 20
The Roadrunners recorded 14 kills to just nine by the Lobos in game one. CSUB also outhit New Mexico, .290 to .107.
The Lobos fell behind after a block from the Roadrunners and four consecutive UNM miscues put the score at 11-6. New Mexico got the sideout on a net violation by the 'Runners, only for CSUB's Kelsee Sawyer to lay a ball down the line and move the mark to 12-7. CSU Bakersfield continued to tack on points, leading by as many as six points, 17-11. New Mexico used kills from Riddle and a service ace from Ashley Newman to cut the lead to four points, 18-14. A few plays later a block by Megan Short and Hannah Johnson put the Lobos to within two points, 20-18. But more errors at the net from New Mexico allowed CSUB to take the first set, 25-20.
Second set - Lobos 25, CSUB 19
New Mexico stepped up their game in the second set, recording 14 kills and hitting .500 (14k-2e-24ta). CSUB didn't record any blocks in game two. The Lobos also played better defense, recording four blocks and seven digs.
Set two was tied early at 2-2 before tough serving from Newman and a big block by Ross and Riddle fueled a 5-0 run by New Mexico and gave the visitors a 7-2 advantage. A kill from Short pushed UNM's lead to seven points, 13-6. New Mexico controlled the match with strong net play from Riddle and by playing better defense than in the first set. An ace from Newman gave the Lobos a 19-11 lead and kills from Skipper and Riddle mixed in with some points by CSUB moved the mark to 22-15. The Roadrunners cut the Lobos' lead to five points, 23-18, thanks to a kill from Sawyer and an ace from Lisa Bartsch. A kill from Short gave the Lobos set point and a few plays later a kill from Gunsaulus gave New Mexico the set, 25-19.
Third set - Lobos 25, CSUB 21
A block from Skipper and Ross followed by a kill from Ross on an overpass gave New Mexico a 7-5 edge in set three. The Roadrunners answered and the teams continued to trade points until a block from Gullatt and Riddle followed by an attack error by the 'Runners put New Mexico up, 13-11. CSUB put up two quick points and the game was tied again. Skipper reacted on an overpass to give the Lobos a sideout and then another ace from Newman added to the Lobos edge, 15-13. But again, CSU Bakersfield managed to answer the Lobos and tie the game, 15 all. The Lobos pulled away off a kill from Riddle, which prompted a 6-1 New Mexico run and gave New Mexico a 21-16 lead. A few plays later, an offspeed shot by Gunsaulus moved the mark to 23-18. Back-to-back kills from Riddle secure the set, 25-21.
Fourth set - 25-20