Lobo women’s volleyball rebounded from last week’s losses and beat both their rivals in road games in Utah and Idaho.
UNM had previously defeated Utah State University (USU) in a home game on Sept. 30 of this year and shut them out again in three straight sets, 25-19, 25-21 and 25-13, which also marked head coach Nelson’s 200th victory at the helm of UNM’s program.
On offense, UNM players made a strong showing, led by Lauren Twitty who drove in 11 kills and 18 digs, notching her 11th double-double of the season. Mariessa Carrasco tallied nine kills, followed by Victoria Spragg and Hailey Rubino each credited with seven kills, as well as Carly Beddingfield and Yasmin Tan who chipped in four kills apiece. Ashley Kelsey led with a match-high 21 digs and as a team UNM outperformed USU 61-45 on digs, which was the most UNM had registered since 2014.
On defense, Spragg registered nine blocks, followed by Carrasco with five and Twitty with four. Sarah Lobo put in 39 assists and, as a team, UNM led USU on assists 42-24.
Lobos dominated their USU Aggie rival on virtually every metric. They limited USU to a .009 hit percentage, compared to UNM’s .185 hit clip. They registered 43 kills compared to 24 for USU with two fewer errors, and won the battle for blocks and aces, ultimately contributing to the victory.
UNM’s second match of the week with Boise State appeared to be the tougher of the two, but the Lobos still managed to come out on top. UNM had fallen to Boise State 3-1 in a home game on Sept. 28, but avenged that loss with a 3-1 victory this time over the Broncos on their home turf. In the end the scores stood at 25-19, 25-19, 22-25 and 25-22, putting the Lobos at 13-12 overall and 5-7 in Mountain West Conference play.
In a release Nelson said, “I think that we played really good ball…There haven't been many teams in the conference that have won in Boise, so it's really great to come up here and get a win.”
Twitty led the UNM offense with 20 kills – the third time this season she has hit the 20 mark. She has also recorded six straight games with double digit kills which is a career best. Carrasco also recorded 13 putaways, followed by Rubino and Beddingfield who notched 12 each. Kelsey also excelled with 22 digs, and Sarah Lobo put up 58 assists which is the most of any UNM freshman since 2005.
On most other metrics UNM overpowered the Broncos as well. They hit at a .352 hit percentage, compared to .222 for Boise State, and dominated in total kills 67-50. They also led in digs 59-46 and in assists 65-45, but got edged out by the Broncos in blocks 8 to 7. UNM had slightly fewer errors as well, with 17 compared to 20 for Boise State.
While all four sets had close scores, the Broncos could not build momentum to overcome the Lobos even after a third set rally finally gave them a consolation victory. UNM seemed to have answers to everything Boise State could throw at them.
“Offensively, I think it was our best overall output of the season,” Nelson said.
The team returns to action on Thursday, Nov. 2 as it hosts San Jose State and Nevada on Saturday, Nov. 4.
Aaron Cowan is a volunteer sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers volleyball and men's and women's golf. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AaronTCowan