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New Mexico Lobos Volleyball – On The Mountain West Road

Thursday:  Colorado State 3, New Mexico 1 (25-16, 20-25, 19-25, 19-25)

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The University of New Mexico dropped a 3-1 decision at No. 10 Colorado State on Thursday night in Mountain West volleyball action. UNM took set one, 25-16, before dropping the next three, 20-25, 19-25, 19-25.

The Lobos drop to 20-6 overall and 10-5 in MW action while the Rams remain perfect at 24-0 overall and 15-0 in league matches.

UNM was looking to make a statement to the NCAA Selection Committee with a win at No. 10 Colorado State. The Lobos dominated in the 25-16 first-set win, but that victory also seemed to set a fire under the Rams in front of a rowdy Moby Arena crowd of 3,317.

The Lobos got 19 kills in Fort Collins from Chantale Riddle, who also had 12 digs and six block assists. Three Lobos – Lexi Ross, Cassie House and Skye Gullatt – had seven kills each. Hannah Johnson had 40 assists and Miquella Lovato had 17 digs.  Lexi Ross added seven blocks and Lena Skipper had nine digs.

New Mexico hit .146 with 48 kills and 27 errors of 144 attack attempts.  UNM had 60 digs in a match that featured the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the Mountain West.

Colorado State hit .180 with 53 kills, 56 digs and 20 blocks.  Kelsey Snider had 15 kills and Michelle Lawrence added 11. Jaime Colaizzi had 16 digs from the back row.  Deedra Foss had 45 assists and 11 digs.  Samantha Peters had seven block assists and one solo.

The loss dropped UNM to 20-6 and 10-5 in league play.  CSU is 15-0 in MW games.  The Lobos move further North to Laramie and play the Wyoming Cowgirls at 5 p.m. (MT) Saturday.  

First Set:  New Mexico 25, Colorado State 16

It was a decisive game, a statement game, for the Lobos.  The Lobos quickly told the Rams that they came to Fort Collins to win.

The first set was a game of runs, but the Lobos had more runs and UNM had a final 8-to-2 run that pulled the Lobos out of a 17-14 lead into a 25-16 win.

The Lobos played at a high level that CSU did not match in the first set. The Lobos’ defense was the big difference in the first game.  UNM won the defensive battle at the net with six blocks to two for the Rams.  Riddle had four kills and Ross had three kills. 

The Lobos went up 1-0 and then pulled out of a 3-3 tie to go up 7-3 forcing the Rams to call a timeout.   UNM went up 8-3 and 11-4 before CSU finally rolled out some consecutive points to pull to 11-7.  UNM then went on a roll and when the scoreboard moved to 14-7 CSU called for another huddle.

The Rams came out of the break and worked their way into a 16-11 count and UNM called for a huddle.  The Rams’ 5-0 run ended on a Lexi Ross kill into the deep corner.  CSU came back to 17-14 before Skye Gullatt scored to make it 18-14.  The Rams came back to 19-15, but a Riddle smash handed UNM a five-point lead heading to the 20s.  Riddle again: 21-15.  It did not look like the Rams were going to climb out of their early hole.   They didn’t as UNM rolled to a convincing 25-16 win.

Second Set:  Colorado State 25, New Mexico  20

The first game was a wake-up call for CSU.  They needed to play better and in the second game they did play better especially on defense.  CSU ended the set with 14 kills to 11 for UNM.

The second game was tighter and no team was up by more than a point until CSU went up 6-4. The Lady Rams then went up 9-6 and 14-11.  The Lobos closed to 14-13, but CSU rolled out three consecutive points to go up 17-13 and Coach Nelson burned a timeout.  The Rams went up 19-14 and this time the Rams had a five-point lead heading into the 20s at 20-15.  The Lobos didn’t roll over, but the Rams rode that gap to the 25-20 win.

Riddle went into the two-game break with seven kills, eight digs and four block assists. Miquella Lovato had 10 digs and Lexi Ross had six blocks and four kills.   UNM was hitting .096 after two games and CSU was at .090.

Set three:  Colorado State 25, New Mexico 19

The first game out of the break in a 1-1 match can be pivotal.  The Rams got the win to go up 2-1.

UNM went up 3-0 and CSU went into an early team huddle.   CSU came out of the break and ran to a 6-5 lead, aiding by a service error and a hitting error by Riddle.   UNM went up 9-7 before CSU ran to a 13-11 lead.  The Rams produced their first three-point lead of the game at 15-12 and UNM  called for time.

CSU drifted up 17-13 behind the rowdy crowd that came to help their Lady Rams stay undefeated.  Nelson called for another team huddle.  CSU stayed ahead and moved into a 20-15 count.  UNM cut it to 20-17, but a UNM service error made it 21-17.  UNM’s Cassie House got a kill for the Lobos to make it 21-18, but the Rams took over the net down the stretch and registered the 25-19 win.

Set Four:  Colorado State 25, New Mexico 19

The Lobos made a gutsy charge at the end, but holes of 8-2, 12-4, 18-10 and 20-13 were just too much for the Lobos to climb out of against the undefeated Lady Rams, who held on for the 25-19 win.  CSU hit .364 in the final set and it was the only game in which the Lobos never held the lead or a tie.  The Lobos hit .229 in the final set - their best percentage of the match. 


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