The University of New Mexico volleyball team seemed like it was going to run roughshod through the field while hosting the annual Lobo Classic, but ran into problems in the final match of the tournament.
New Mexico kicked off Friday with some quick work against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. UNM swept the Colonels — who were victims of a fourth consecutive shutout to start the season — in three sets with junior Tai Bierria leading the team in hits for the game. She put down 14 hits and dug seven balls for the Lobos in the match.
Eastern Kentucky did force a five-setter against New Mexico State later that night, but were swept again the next day by the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and left Albuquerque winless at 0-6 on the year.
The good fortune for the Lobos continued as they competed against Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night. The game went for four sets as the teams split the first two sets before New Mexico started to get things rolling.
UNM emerged with a 25-23 in the pivotal third set and never looked back as it pulled away 25-18 in the fourth and final set to defeat FGCU 3-1 and improve its record to 3-2 at the time.
The Lobos collected 39 total kills against the Eagles and Libero Mercedes Pacheco managed 15 digs for the team and put up four assists in the match.
But New Mexico couldn’t keep the momentum throughout the weekend as it fell against rival New Mexico State in the final pairing of the Lobo Classic on Saturday.
The first two sets were well-contested, but the Aggies won both back-and-forth affairs to pull out in front 2-0 in the team score. Things weren't so close in the third set as NMSU seized the opportunity to put away its opponent — holding 10-point advantage at one time on the way to a 25-18 win to earn a sweep over the Lobos.
UNM outside hitter Carly Beddingfield played well in the loss against NMSU, collecting 9 of the squads' 35 kills in the game. But the Aggies outpaced that with 45 total kills, with freshman Savannah Davison leading the way with 15 of them.
While the Lobos were unable to remain perfect at home, they were able to reverse their fortune from last weekend's tournament. The Lobos went 1-2 on the road in the Idaho Volleyball Classic, but went 2-1 this time around to even their overall record at 3-3 on the season.
UNM's Beddingfield was named the Lobo Classic MVP and Bierra was named to the all-tournament team.
The Lobos continue the season in Jacksonville, Florida on Sept.7-8 as the team is set to compete in the North Florida Tournament against North Florida, Furman and USC Upstate.
Alanie Rael is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers volleyball and track and field, but but also contributes content for football. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AllyRael.