In the fifth and final set against San Diego State, the UNM volleyball team needed just one more point to take the win, but it came too late.
The Lobos lost by 16-25, 25-23, 27-25, 21-25, 15-17 Sunday afternoon at Johnson Center, after having five consecutive match-points go to waste. The team fell to 10-7 overall, and 3-2 in Mountain West Conference.
“We’re really immature,” head coach Jeff Nelson said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever been more disappointed.”
The Aztecs, 10-5, 3-2 MWC, found gaps in the Lobo defense throughout the match and played a solid defensive game, finishing with 16 team blocks.
Outside hitter Kelly Williamson said it was more about what the team didn’t do, especially the seniors.
“Seniors need to win game five, and I didn’t do that,” Williamson said.
Between Williamson and Ashley Rhoades were a combined two kills in game five.
Freshman Elsa Krieg and Chantale Riddle led the Lobos in offense.
Krieg finished with a team-high 14 kills and a .448 hitting percentage. Riddle had 10 kills to go along with a .119 hitting percentage.
“Two freshmen had to do it for us today,” Nelson said. “At the end of the game … that’s when you need your seniors to step up.”
Rhoades has consistently stepped up for her team this season, but she didn’t record a kill in the last set on Sunday.
“She kind of took herself out of it,” Nelson said. “She just didn’t have it, unfortunately. She’s a great player, but tonight, this was probably her weakest match of the year.”
For the last couple of weeks, Nelson has been trying to find the players who can produce for the team, and this match convinced him that he still hasn’t found the right lineup.
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“We’re going to mix the lineup again because I’m not satisfied,” Nelson said.
A win against the Aztecs would have bumped the Lobos to the top of conference standings, but Williamson said the conference tournament is the most important goal.
“I’m not hopeless,” Williamson said. “I feel defeated today, but tomorrow I’m going to work my butt off.”
Williamson said she knows Nelson has been critical of her play and understands she needs to improve.
“I can do more,” she said. “I can and I will.”
Williamson had a team-high 14 kills and recorded 16 digs. Rhoades finished with 12 kills. Allison Buck led the team with 19 digs.
Mariah Agre set up her teammates and racked up 53 assists in the match. Agre now has 10 double-doubles this season, and Williamson follows her with six.
The Lobos go on the road to Fort Collins, Colo. on Thursday to take on Colorado State.
Krieg said the team has to move on from this loss.
“It’s a learning experience,” Krieg said. “We’ll learn from it.
You just take this and just keep going with it. Next time it’s not going to happen.”