New Mexico Wins Lobo Invitational
4:30 p.m. - Northern Arizona def. Abilene Christian, 3-0
7:00 p.m. - Lobos def. Towson, 3-1 (25-14, 25-18, 20-25, 25-17)
10:30 a.m. - Towson def. Northern Arizona, 3-0
1:00 p.m. - Lobos def. Abilene Christian, 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-12)
5:00 p.m. - Abilene Christian def. Towson, 3-1
7:30 p.m. - Lobos def. Northern Arizona, 3-0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-14)
|Chantale Riddle, MVP
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico swept Northern Arizona, 25-12, 25-20, 25-14 for its seventh-consecutive win on Saturday in the final match of the Lobo Invitational.
The Lobos improved to 8-1 and earned their sixth sweep of the season while the Lumberjacks dropped to 6-3.
New Mexico won the tournament with a 3-0 weekend record and extended their home record to 6-0.
The story of the night, however, was senior Libero Miquella Lovato recording her 1,000 career dig early in the third set. Lovato had 14 in the match.
"The team was counting down more than I was, so that made it all the better," Lovato said of the moment.
Head coach Jeff Nelson says the career milestone is the first of many good things to come for the senior.
"She's an amazing player. She's going to have a lot more accolades before the year is over," he said.
Lovato, along with senior Lexi Ross, were named to the All-Tournament team while redshirt junior Chantale Riddle was named the Invite's Most Valuable Player. It's the second-consecutive MVP honor for Riddle and her third tournament honor of the season. It is also Lovato's third tournament honor and the first for Ross.
The Lobos opened strong against the Lumberjacks early in set one and virtually controlled the match from that point on.
"We got them on their heels right away," Nelson said. "Maddie Mayfield came in served tough and we got off to that 8-0 start and we had them on their heels most of the night after that."
New Mexico held NAU to .000 hitting, allowing the visitors just 22 kills in the match. A huge part of that was solid blocking. The Lobos had 14.0 blocks to just 3.0 by Northern Arizona.
"Chantale probably had an average weekend hitting, but she was amazing in our last two matces in blocking," Nelson said. "She put up blocking numbers that people are happy to get in kills."
Riddle, a right-side hitter, had two solo blocks and three block assists against the Lumberjacks. Big numbers for someone who doesn't play middle. As in the Lobos' first match on Saturday, Riddl was the only player in double-digits in the kills column with 14.
Ross and sophomore Skye Gullatt chipped in three solo blocks and three block assists apiece.
Redshirt sophomore Hannah Johnson directed the offense and recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 34 assists and 14 digs. She added three kills and three block assists.
"Hannah set a great night for us. It was probably her best match of the weekend," Nelson said. "Lexi Ross had a great match, too. She's was tearing it up, playing heads up and if she didn't have a swing she was throwing it down. Just a really good job by her."
The Lobos begin Mountain West conference play at Air Force on Thursday, Sept. 19. The match starts at 6 p.m. MT.
"We're going to play as a team and work our hardest and hopefully come out with a win," Lovato said of next week's MW opener.