Editor's Note: The original version of this article stated this game marked Lauren Twitty's 10th double-double of the season. That is incorrect; this game marked her 12th double-double. The article also listed the Nevada "Wolfpack" as one word, not two; the appropriate reference is "Wolf Pack." The information has been corrected. The Daily Lobo apologizes for any confusion.
University of New Mexico volleyball had a mixed week at home, defeating San Jose State University in three close sets but getting stopped by the Nevada Wolf Pack in a four-set duel.
In the first two sets against San Jose State, UNM posted scores of 25-22, and the third set was even tighter, with the Lobos edging out the Spartans 26-24. In the second matchup, Nevada took the first set 25-19, but UNM recaptured the second set 18-25. However, Nevada got by UNM 31-29 in the third set and scored 25-20 for the match victory.
The Lobos last met the Spartans on Oct. 7 in San Jose, California, where they fell 2-3, but this time at home, they seemed ready for whatever their rival could throw at them.
“Tonight we were a little tired, but we ground it out, and we had the confidence to win at the end,” UNM head coach Jeff Nelson said in a release.
Offensively UNM hit at a .224 clip compared to a .179 hit percentage for the Spartans. Lauren Twitty tied with Spartan Fernanda Vido for a match-high 15 kills, but Twitty bested Vido in digs 10 to 6. This marked Twitty’s 12th double-double of the season. Victoria Spragg also notched 10 kills, followed by Hailey Rubino, Carly Beddingfield and Mariessa Carrasco, who contributed six kills each.
Ashley Kelsey tied Spartan Luiza Andrade for a game-high 14 digs. Sarah Lobo also continued to impress, with a match-high 36 assists and eight digs.
The one area where UNM did not dominate was in blocks, where the Spartans led 8-4. However, all four UNM blocks came when they needed it most, in the final set. Rubino and Carrasco each blocked on the last two points, securing the UNM win.
In the second matchup, against the Nevada Wolf Pack, things proved to be more challenging. UNM played the Wolf Pack last on Oct. 5 in Reno, Nevada, where they also went 1-3. This puts UNM’s record at 14-13 overall and 6-8 in Mountain West Conference play.
Despite the loss, several Lobos had exceptional performances. Kelsey racked up 31 digs, which was a career-high and the most by a Mountain West player this season. Lobo also tied with Nevada’s Dalyn Burns for game-high 47 assists, but Lobo outperformed Burns on digs 16-12. This marked Lobo’s third double-double.
Additionally Rubino, now fully recovered from her foot injury, notched a career-high 18 kills, which was only one less than the match-high of 19 kills registered by Twitty. Spragg also had 11 kills and five digs, which was a career-best.
On several metrics the Lobos dominated the Wolf Pack. They recorded more kills, 59-57, bested them on digs, 80-68, and exceeded them on assists, 57-54.
However, UNM underperformed on their hitting percentage at .146 compared to .180 for the Wolf Pack, committed more errors, 34-26, and fell behind on blocks, 12-6. These deficits seem to have contributed the critical edge that the Wolf Pack needed to win the match.
UNM now faces a flurry of seven games in the next 15 days. Their next matchup will be against Fresno State on Nov. 9.
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.