Lobos Drop Five-Set Heartbreaker to Fresno State
Oct. 27, 2012
New Mexico Lobos Volleyball
Saturday, Oct. 27: Fresno State def. Lobos, (20-25, 13-25, 25-23, 25-21, 10-15)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Lobo volleyball team dropped a five-set heartbreaker to Mountain West foe Fresno State (20-25, 13-25, 25-23, 25-21,10-15) on Saturday night in front of 1,377 fans in the Johnson Center. The loss is the third consecutive for the Lobos and marks the end of a tough week at home.
The Lobos stepped up their defense at the net to come back from a two-set deficit and push the match to a deciding fifth set, but Fresno State opened with a 5-1 run in the final set and New Mexico couldn't recover.
New Mexico falls to 18-8 overall and 5-5 in MW play, while Fresno State improves to 14-8 and 6-3 in league play.
"We motivated each other after those first two games and fought back," Skye Gullatt said. "But unfortunately it wasn't enough in the fifth game."
The Lobos struggled at the net, getting 36 kills (.020 pct.) to 62 (.135) by Fresno State. New Mexico's defense kept them in the match. The Lobos had six block solos -- three from Hannah Johnson, two from Skye Gullatt and one from Megan Short -- and 22 block assists to 22 total blocks by the Bulldogs.
Redshirt sophomore Chantale Riddle led the Lobos with 10 kills, nine digs and four block assists.
Freshman Skye Gullatt had a career-best 11 blocks -- two solo and nine assists. It's a match-high in blocks for any Lobo this season. Gullat also hit a match-best .545, recording six kills on 11 attempts and staying error free at the net.
"I was more relaxed this match," Gullatt said. "Instead of focusing on priority hitters I focused on staying neutral and working hard to close blocks and sticking to the basics."
Redshirt freshman Hannah Johnson had 18 assists and seven blocks.
The hefty Bulldog offense, which entered Saturday's match as the MW leader in conference matches for kills (14.14/set) and assists (13.03/set) had four players in double-digits in kills - Maci Murdock with 15, Marissa Brand with 12, and Lauren Albertson and Korrin Wild each had 10. Setter Barbara Alcantara had 53 set assists. . The Lobos hung with Fresno State for a majority of the First Set, going point-for-point with the Bulldogs until the 15-15 mark. Fresno State closed out Game One with two sizable runs to claim the set, 25-20. The Bulldogs controlled the net in the first set, recording 15 kills to just 10 by UNM and putting up eight blocks to four for the Lobos.
Set Two started with a 5-2 lead by Fresno State which swelled to a 17-6 advantage. The Bulldogs' offense was too much for New Mexico in the Second Set, tallying 18 kills on .556 accuracy at the net -- to just five kills by the Lobos. Fresno State took the game, 25-13.
The Lobos controlled the Third Set, leading by as much as 15-9 at one point. The Bulldogs came back to keep things close in the end and battle the Lobos point-for-point, but the home team prevailed, 25-23. New Mexico stepped up its blocking big time in Set Three -- getting two solo stuffs from Gullatt and Johnson and six more block assists from other Lobos to outblock Fresno State, 8-2. The Bulldogs hitting was significantly cooled in the second set, getting 12 kills on 27 swings and committing 12 errors for a .000 hitting percentage.
New Mexico got a 1-0 lead in the Fourth Set off a service error by Fresno State and never looked back. The Lobos hit .125 (10k-5e-40ta) to just .042 by the Bulldogs (12k-10e-48ta) and had nine blocks to just six by Fresno State to take the game, 25-21, and send the match to a Fifth Set.
Fresno State took a 5-1 lead in Set Five and the Lobos couldn't fully recover. New Mexico was plagued by errors at the net -- committing nine on 21 swings. The Lobos had one kill in the final game and hit -.381. Fresno State, too, had some trouble at the net, recording six errors and hitting just -.50. But the Bulldogs' opening run was the deciding factor as the visitors claimed Set Five, 15-10.
It's the first time this season New Mexico has dropped three consecutive matches. The last time the Lobos lost three in a row was at the end of 2011.
UNM will look to recover next week with two conference matches on the road, stopping at Air Force on Thursday, Nov. 1 for a 7 p.m. MT match before traveling to Boise State for a 1 p.m. MT match on Saturday, Nov. 3. New Mexico returns home on Sunday, Nov. 11 for a 1 p.m. MT match with non-conference opponent CSU Bakersfield.