Aztecs Claim Lobos' Final Home Match, 3-0
Nov. 17, 2012
New Mexico Lobos Volleyball
Thursday, Nov. 15: Lobos def. Nevada 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-18)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico volleyball team dropped a hard-fought match to Mountain West leader San Diego State on Saturday afternoon, 3-0 (26-24, 29-27, 25-16). The Lobos fall to 20-11 and 7-7 in MW play while the Aztecs improve to 22-7 and 12-3 in league play.
UNM fought diligently in the first two sets, even reaching set point in Game One, but the Lobos struggled to put away San Diego State.
"There's something with San Diego State," head coach Jeff Nelson said. "We just seem to lack the drive to put them away. When we played there (on Oct. 18) we had match point four times and we led in all five games there and then today, we led the whole time in game one and in game two we rolled it and had game point late in the set. We just don't seem to come out on top with them."
Chantale Riddle led all players with 14 kills, four digs and three blocks, two of which were solo blocks. With two matches remaining, Riddle's season total for kills is 481 which surpasses the old Mountain West sophomore record for single-season kills of 472 set by BYU's Nina Puikkonen in 1999.
Riddle also moves to No. 3 in UNM program history for single-season kills. Her season point total is 562.5, which ranks her second in Lobo history for single-season points. Riddle needs three more points to surpass current record holder, Pauline Manser, a two-time All-American who had 565.0 points in 1991.
Alijah Gunsaulus tallied seven kills and six digs.
The Lobos had Miquella Lovato in the first two sets and the junior libero racked up 14 kills before leaving the match after Game Two.
"It made a huge difference losing Miquella after two sets," Nelson said. "We went from passing really well in the first two to struggling to stay in system in the last set.
"I don't think it's related to her head. She had a bad meal last night and has been sick all night and morning. I'm at least happy to say I don't think it's related to her concussion from two weeks ago."
San Diego State hit .204 on the match (46k-23e-113ta) and was led by senior Andrea Hannasch who had 13 kills.
The Lobos hit .097, getting 31 kills on 103 swings and committing 21 errors at the net.
Prior to the match, New Mexico honored senior Jordan Russell and junior Ashley Newman. Russell is a three-year letterwinner who began as a walk-on and earned a schoalrship for her final season. The two-time team captain has played in every match this season, serving primarily as a setter and filling in at libero as needed.
Newman, a nuclear medicine major, will not return for a fourth season as she focuses on finishing her undergraduate degree and preparing for medical school. The junior was a key contributor this season, especially from behind the service line (her .31 aces per-set average ranks No. 2 in the MW). Newman tore her ACL on Oct. 23, but her decision to focus on school was made prior to the start of this season.
"Jordan has done a great job here," Nelson said. "She's been a good member of the team and is a great person. She's a local player who has fared really well here. Ashley Newman, too, we knew she'd be done after this year since last summer. This is about her preparing for med school, so I'm happy for both of them. They will both do well in the future."
The Lobos' lone senior described the day as bittersweet.
"I would've liked to have come away with a win, but there is no place I'd rather be right now than with the Lobo fans and with my family," Russell said.
About 30 members of the Russell family were on hand to help honor Jordan.
"My teammates mean the world to me," Russell added. "I can only hope for success for them in the future and I'm excited to come back and watch."
The Lobos will finish out their 2012 schedule with two conference matches on the road next week. UNM plays at Wyoming on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and at Colorado State on Friday, Nov. 23. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.
First Set - San Diego State 26, Lobos 24
The Lobos opened with a big block by Skye Gullatt and Alijah Gunsaulus and claimed a 7-1 edge early in Set One. That edge grew to a 15-8 lead thanks to aggressive play at the net by Chantale Riddle, Gullatt and Gunsaulus and stellar defense by libero Miquella Lovato.
The Aztecs made small runs at the 18-10 and 20-17 marks, putting up mark, putting up three unanswered points both times. A kill by Alijah Gunsaulus made it 24-19, but a kill by San Diego State's Raegan Shelton sparked a 7-0 run by the Aztecs to come from behind and claim Set One, 26-24.
Second Set - San Diego State 29, Lobos 27
The Second Set was close the entire way with a dozen ties and three lead changes.
The game was locked at 19s but a kill by Summer Nash followed by an attack error by the Lobos gave the Aztecs a 21-19 edge.
Riddle kept the Lobos alive with two big kills, but a few plays later the Aztecs got another kill from Nash to make it set point, 24-21. The Lobos, however, weren't ready for the set to end and a kill from Skipper ignited a 4-0 run and a lead takeover by UNM, 25-24.
A kill by Hannasch followed by an attack error by the Lobos put SDSU back on top, 26-25. The teams traded points and a kill by Gunsaulus tied the set at 27-all before a service error by UNM and a service ace by the Aztecs gave the visitors the two points they needed to take the set, 29-27.
Third Set - San Diego State 25, Lobos 16
The Lobos struggled without libero Miquella Lovato early in the Third Set and the Aztecs secured a hefty 17-7 lead.
The Lobos put up three unanswered points mid-set, but the Aztecs continued to control the set, reaching set point, 24-14, off a kill by Hannasch. The Lobos prolonged the set for two more points thanks to a kill and an ace by Skipper, but the Aztecs got set point on a kill from Raegan Shelton, 25-16.