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Record turnout fuels landslide win

It was a landmark match for the UNM volleyball team Saturday.

The Lobos blanked Wyoming 3-0 at Johnson Center and continued their seven-game winning streak, which included three straight sweeps. UNM set the season attendance with 3,179 on Saturday. That pushed the season attendance total to 30,773 and surpassed the previous high of 28,190 set in 1991.

“Our fans have had a huge impact on the success we’ve had at home,” head coach Jeff Nelson said. “Our players really love playing here.”
Senior setter Jade Michaelsen reached 4,000 career assists, dishing out 36 assists and finishing with 4,031 Saturday. Junior libero Allison Buck recorded her 1,000th dig, notching 21 in the match and breaking into UNM’s top-10 career dig list with 1,005.

All that aside, the Lobos’ thrashing over Wyoming keeps them in second place in the Mountain West Conference race at 18-8 overall and 10-3 in conference.

As usual, the Lobos’ defense was top notch. UNM out-blocked the Cowgirls 12-3 and out-dug them 63-50. UNM leads the MWC in digs per game at 15.93.

In addition to Buck’s match-high 21 digs, freshman defensive specialist Mariah Agre chipped in 15 and Michaelsen added six.
“Our team has a passion for playing defense,” Buck said. “We know we have the ability to play good defense, and we’re striving to lead the conference in digs.”

Offensively, junior outside hitter Kelly Williamson led the way for the Lobos, hitting .324 and knocking down 15 kills. Senior outside hitter Lisa Meeter notched double-digit kills and digs for the 13th time this season. Sophomore right-side hitter Rachel Barber recorded six kills and hit an impressive .545.

“We didn’t play our best today, but we picked it up when we needed to and got the win,” Nelson said. “We were worried about coming in and playing good ball after such an emotional win against (No. 13 ranked) Colorado State on Thursday night.”

Up next, the Lobos travel to Utah for matchups against Utah on Thursday and Brigham Young on Saturday. UNM will conclude its regular season at home Nov. 26.

“These next few weeks will be crucial for us,” Nelson said. “Our RPI should jump this week, but we still want to end the season on a high note so that NCAA selection committee will pick us as one of the top 64 teams in the country come tournament time.”

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