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Lobo senior middle blocker Skye Gullatt delivers a spike against San Jose State at Johnson Center Thursday night. The Lobos swept the Spartans 3-0. 

Lobo senior middle blocker Skye Gullatt delivers a spike against San Jose State at Johnson Center Thursday night. The Lobos swept the Spartans 3-0. 

Volleyball: Lobos break out the brooms on Thursday in sweep over Spartans

For the second straight match, UNM’s defense has propelled the squad to consecutive sweeps on their home court.

Halfway into the Lobos’ four game home-stand, New Mexico has yet to lose a set. On Thursday night, the Lobos got off to a sluggish start, but really got things clicking en route to a 3-0 sweep over the San Jose Spartans.

“It was a little bit of cat and mouse (at the start),” head coach Jeff Nelson said. “Then we started pulling away.”

In the first set, UNM (14-10, 7-4 MW) kept trading points with SJSU, but could never find its groove. However, with a tie game at 15-15, the Lobos found their offensive voice.

With the first lead of the game coming off of a Simone Henderson kill out of the middle, the Lobos didn’t lose that lead again. UNM finished the first game on a 10-2 run.

New Mexico put together a win in an untraditional way for the 2015 squad. In UNM’s 24 matches, the team as a whole averaged over nine blocks per contest. On Thursday night, the squad could only muster four blocks all night.

Nelson said after the contest that the blocking stats can be deceiving. He said his squad was able to shut down Sara Hibbs, who Nelson said is the Spartan’s best player, by being aggressive against the middle blocker.

“We forced a lot of hitting errors and that’s a good block too,” Nelson said. “When the other team hits .07, you’re getting in their face pretty well.”

The Lobos certainly took advantage of the 24 attack errors committed by San Jose State while only committing 10 of their own. Outside hitter Julia Warren said the blocking has been there all season and will continue to show if New Mexico wants to have success in the near future.

“At the end of the day, our blocking numbers are really good,” Warren said. “I think going forward into next week, I think that’s going to be a really big factor against CSU and Wyoming.”

While the defense certainly set the stage for the Lobos, it was the late offensive showing which surged UNM in the final portion of the match. While holding the Spartans to a .078 hitting percentage overall, UNM didn’t hit under .320 in the final two sets of the contest.

“Overall it was a good night. I mean we hit .300 plus,” Nelson said. “The feeling has been if we have three or four kids hitting, firing, playing their better ball, we can win most of our matches and tonight we did.”

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Warren, the only player with doubled-igit kills on the night, said her team has been rolling as of late. Although the team has been playing well, Warren said she knows even bigger things are on the horizon with UNM’s talented group of outside hitters.

“I think the night when all of (the outside hitters) are in the double digits, it’s going to be a really special night,” Warren said. “I think we’re all waiting for that.”

Liam Cary-Eaves is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on twitter @Liam_CE.

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