The UNM volleyball team cruised Thursday with a 3-0 win over Air Force in Mountain West Conference volleyball action.
After being away from Johnson Center the past two weeks, the Lobos swept the Falcons in three sets for their first MWC win of the season.
The Lobos dropped a 3-0 decision at San Diego State in their conference opener last week.
Head coach Jeff Nelson said it was pleasant to see UNM return to its winning ways.
“We knew (the Falcons) were going to come out hard and put up a fight,” he said. “We worked hard in practice this week on staying focused, and it paid off. After we settled down and took a breath, we got on a roll and never looked back.”
The Lobos test-drove a new offense, with junior Ashley Rhoades moving from the middle to the outside hitting position. The move paid off, as Rhoades notched 14 kills —only one away from her career-high.
“Ashley came through for us in a big way,” Nelson said. “She’s a very athletic player, and versatile. As we saw tonight, she can hit from anywhere on the court.”
The Lobos relied heavily on their serves, creating several bad passes by Air Force and serving up five aces.
“When you serve tough, you force your opponent to play out of system,” senior setter Jade Michaelsen said. “You know where the ball is going, and it’s easier to read hitters.
When they pass well, they have three attacking options. When it’s a bad pass, they only have one option. So, we did a good job of keeping their offense off balance and adjusting our blocks.”
UNM boasted a balanced offensive attack with five players notching four or more kills.
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“Everyone did their jobs,” senior right-side hitter Taylor Hadfield said. “Every hitter wanted the ball, and it was great having so many different options to go to.”
Hadfield added 10 kills and hit .500 for the match against the Falcons.
Senior outside hitter Lisa Meeter led the defensive charge. She posted 10 kills and a team-high 12 digs, while Michaelsen dished out 30 assists.
With the win, UNM improves to 9-6 on the season and 1-1 in conference, while Air
Force falls to 3-12 and 0-2.
“We played confident tonight,” Rhoades said. “Confidence is a key for us. As long as we are confident in our offense, everything else — our defense, blocking and serving —seem to just fall into place.”
Volleyball vs. UNLV
Saturday, 1 p.m.