The volleyball team went toe-to-toe with No. 23 Colorado State on Saturday, but couldn’t get itself over the winning line.
They lost in five sets — 25-19, 14-25, 19-25, 25-22, and 11-15 — on an emotional Senior Night.
Head coach Jeff Nelson honored seniors Kelly Williamson, Ashley Rhoades, Allison Buck and their families.
In the first set, Buck passed Lobo alumna Gayle Tripp’s school record for all-time career digs, set in 2008 at 1,578.
Buck credited Tripp with helping her set the record.
“She was on my team my freshman year, and having her be my role model gave me inspiration to become a better player,” Buck said. “I am so thankful she was on my team.”
Nelson reflected on Buck’s career at UNM.
“She’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached,” Nelson said. “I’ve coached a lot of All-Americans and a lot of really good players, but she’s a top-quality, low-maintenance, get-it-done player, and every coach loves that.”
A broken record was just the beginning of an intense match.
Later in the first set, with the Lobos up 22-19, sophomore setter Mariah Agre threw her body into the announcer’s table to save the ball. The Lobos won the point with a Williamson kill that sent Johnson Center into a frenzy.
“It was one of those plays that you’ll always remember,” Buck said.
Two points later, at 24-19, the Lobos made another incredible save, this time by the net. The head judge initially called a lane violation, but the Lobos challenged and the call was reversed. The Rams’ coach said something to the line judge that prompted the
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head judge to red-card the coach. The penalty awarded the Lobos a point and the set.
The Rams fired back in the second set and dominated the Lobos.
The third set went back and forth between the teams. Neither had a lead of more than two points until the Rams scored six straight points to break a 19-19 tie and go up 2-1 in the match.
Down 11-13 in the fourth set, Rhoades came down on her elbow after contact was made with a Colorado State player under the net.
One of UNM’s assistant coaches jawed back and forth with Rams’ coaches about the play.
“There were some tenuous moments during the match and I think the teams have really developed a rivalry,” Nelson said. “There were some things that shouldn’t have happened.”
The Lobos fought back and, without Rhoades, pulled out the fourth set.
Rhoades did return later in the match.
“It was an injury, but I didn’t want it to affect me,” she said.
The Rams edged out the Lobos in the final set, but the result gives UNM something to look forward to when it hosts the MWC tournament next weekend.
“A lot of what we did today should give us confidence going into the next match,” Williamson said. “We just have to finish.”
Williamson and Rhoades led the team offensively. Williamson finished with 21 kills with a .250 hitting percentage, and Rhoades added 13 kills with a .222 hitting percentage.
Agre was the only Lobo with a double-double, with 45 assists and 11 digs.
Buck finished the match with 23 digs, which gives her 1,593 digs for her career, and is in third place all-time in the MWC.