Riddle and Lovato Earn Mountain West All-Conference Honors
Nov. 27, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- New Mexico's Chantale Riddle and Miquella Lovato were named to the 15-player Mountain West All-Conference Team on Tuesday as voted on by the league's nine head coaches and announced by the conference office in Colorado Springs, Colo. Lovato claims UNM's fourth Designated Libero recognition in five years, joining former Lobo libero greats Allison Buck (2011 and 2010) and Gayle Tripp (2008) as MW honorees.
Colorado State senior Dana Cranston was named Player of the Year, the sixth Ram to earn the league's top honor. UNLV's Kinsey Caldwell was named Freshman of the Year, while San Diego State's Michelle Waber was voted Newcomer of the Year. Deitre Collins-Parker of San Diego State was selected Coach of the Year. See below for a full list of the 2012 Mountain West All-Conference Team and honorees, or click here to read the conference release.
In her first season serving full time as UNM's libero, Lovato led the league in digs-per-set in conference matches, averaging 4.71 over 51 sets played. She finished the regular season tied for second (with Air Force's Maiya Perich) among all MW players in overall matches, averaging 4.39 digs-per-set.
Despite missing five matches and part of another, the junior of Pojoaque, N.M., recorded 465 digs on the season, enough to rank her No. 3 in UNM program history for single-season digs. She added 67 set assists and six ace serves.
Lovato's season and career high for digs came against the University of Arkansas-Little Rock at the Oklahoma Invitation on Sept. 14 in Norman, Okla. She had 27 digs in the Lobos' 3-2 victory over the Trojans. She began receiving recognition at the beginning of the season as she was named to two all-tournament teams; at the Oklahoma Invitational and at the Sheraton Airpot/L.A. Boxing Lobo Classic.
"Miquella had kind of a trying year with the viral infection and the head concussion yet she still managed to put up big numbers and definitely played a big role when we were successful. When we didn't have her, it really showed," head coach Jeff Nelson said. "The libero is an extremely important position and having someone of her caliber makes a difference. This is a great honor for her and is well deserved. It's exciting for the program as this is our fourth Designated Libero in the last five years. We're setting a tradition of outstanding liberos and Miquella is the third to win that honor."
Said Lovato of the recognition: "It's an awesome feeling to be able to get the same honor as those two, because I remember watching Gayle Tripp play and I got to play with Allison Buck. They're great players and people and its nice to have my name up there with theirs."
Riddle was the Lobos' leader on offense in nearly every match this season, playing all six rotations in the right-side hitter position for UNM. The redshirt sophomore led the Mountain West in overall matches in kills and points, recording 515 (4.19/set) and 599.0 (4.87/set), respectively, and was No. 8 in blocks with a season total of 131 (1.07/set).
The Roswell, N.M., native also led the MW in conference matches in kills (260 tot., 4.13/set) and points (305.5 tot., 4.85/set) and was No. 10 in blocks (67 tot., 1.06/set).
Her 515 kills sets the Mountain West's sophomore record, ranks her No. 4 in MW history and ranks her No. 2 in UNM program history for kills in a single season. She was 13 shy of the school record, which is held by Kim Hicks who had 528 in 1981.
Riddle crushed the Lobo volleyball record for single-season points with 599.0. The previous record was set by two-time first-team All-American Pauline Manser who had 565.0 in 1991.
Riddle's 114 block assists and her 131 total blocks rank her No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, in UNM single-season history.
The Lobo standout finished with 299 digs, 32 set assists, 17 solo blocks and 10 ace serves. She was also flawless on serve receive in her 27 attempts.
Like Lovato, Riddle received recognition early in the season as she was named Tournament MVP at both the Sheraton Airport/L.A. Boxing Lobo Classic and the Sheraton Airport/Comcast Lobo Invitational and made the Oklahoma Invitational All-Tournament team. She was also named the MW Player of the Week on Sept. 3.
"Chantale led the conference in kills and points from beginning to end and was outstanding even with teams double and triple blocking her," Nelson said. "She had to battle all year and still put up big numbers for us and broke records. I think she really was one of the premier players in the conference this year. This is a fitting end to a really outstanding season for her."
Riddle was excited about the honor, and was quick to pass praise to her team and to UNM volleyball supporters.
"It's great to be recognized as one of the top players in the conference because I have a lot more to represent than just myself. I represent everyone back home in Roswell, everyone at UNM, all our fans and supporters at every game, and my team and my coaches," Riddle said. "Without them pushing me every day, I would never be the player that I am today. Trying to lead in kills and in points for my team all year was one of my responsibilities this season. We all have different roles on the team and my role was to be a priority hitter and help my team gain energy and emotion throughout the season."
Perhaps the best part about New Mexico's two 2012 MW honorees is the fact that they will both return for the 2013-14 campaign.
"It's very exciting that they're both returning and can push the envelope even further in the future," Nelson said. "Chantale had National team experience last summer with the A2 team and I think the sky is the limit for her. I think a healthy Miquella could really dominate that position in our conference. It's exciting that we have such great youth right now."
New Mexico finished 20-13 overall this season and was 7-9 in Mountain West play. Since his arrival in 2007, Nelson has led the Lobos to a season of 20 or more wins four times - 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. It's the 11th time in program history that UNM has finished with at least 20 victories.
2012 Mountain West All-Conference Women's Volleyball Team
Designated Setter: Johnna Fouch#, San Diego State, Jr., Redlands, Calif.
Designated Libero: Miquella Lovato, New Mexico, Jr., Pojoaque, N.M.
Player of the Year: Dana Cranston, Colorado State, Sr., OH, Fort St. John, B.C.
Freshman of the Year: Kinsey Caldwell, UNLV, Fr., S, Waveryly, Iowa
Newcomer of the Year: Michelle Waber, San Diego State, So./TR, OH, Wildomar, Calif.
Coach of the Year: Deitre Collins-Parker, San Diego State
^ = 2009 honoree
Miquella Lovato Junior Libero 5-2 Pojoaque, N.M. -- 2012 Accomplishments
Sheraton Airport/L.A. Boxing Lobo Classic All-Tournament team
Chantale Riddle Redshirt Sophomore Right-side hitter 6-0 Roswell, N.M. -- 2012 Accomplishments
Sheraton Airport/L.A. Boxing Lob Classic Tournament MVP