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Winning streak replaces losses

The UNM volleyball team won its third straight game, which stands in contrast to its four-game losing streak earlier this month.
Head coach Jeff Nelson said some of that improvement is thanks to senior Kelly Williamson.

“Part of the reason we’re doing a lot better is Kelly Williamson is playing significantly better ball right now than she was earlier in the season,” Nelson said.

The Lobos won in eight straight sets for the third game in a row, beating Air Force 25-15, 25-17, 25-17 on Saturday for “Think Pink” night at Johnson Center.

“We knew we could come out if we wanted to and just pummel them,” Williamson said. “So that was the game plan, and I think we implemented it pretty well.”

UNM started the match with an early 7-0 run and outplayed the Falcons offensively and defensively to take the first set.

In set two, the Falcons jumped out to a 10-5 lead. Allison Buck then served the Lobos to a 14-0 run, including four aces, to put the Lobos in position to close out the set. Buck finished with five aces to go along with 22 digs.

Offensively, Ashley Rhoades led the team with 17 kills and a .379 hitting percentage.

Mariah Agre led the team in assists with 30.

Throughout the season, head coach Jeff Nelson has been critical of the outside-hitting position, especially Williamson’s play.

Williamson did her part in the match, finishing with 10 kills and a .300 hitting percentage.

She said she’s been trying different things to improve her game.

“I’ve been working a lot with (Agre)” Williamson said. “She’s been setting me the ball a lot higher so I have time to get my feet there and have a better look at the blocker.”

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As a team, the Lobos’ offense finished with 35 kills and 10 aces.

The Falcons had 24 kills to go along with two aces.

Defensively, UNM had 55 digs and seven blocks, compared to 33 digs and seven blocks for Air Force.

With four games left before the conference tournament, Nelson said the Lobos are starting to play the way they envisioned before the season started.

“This is what we should have been doing all year,” he said. “I’m happy that we’re finding a little spark right now.”

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