Three hitters collecting double-digit kills were not enough for New Mexico to overcome its post-intermission lull.
The Lobos came out of the gates scorching hot on the team’s trip to San Diego State, winning the first two games with 25-16 scores. However, Cassie House, Simone Henderson and Devanne Sours’ 10-kill performances on Saturday were not enough to push UNM to a single victory in the final three sets.
Henderson’s .444 hitting percentage was the highest among the three Lobos to tally 10 kills, but the defense simply couldn’t overcome the late-game collapse.
At last Tuesday’s press conference, head coach Jeff Nelson predicted a climb in the standings if the Lobos were to come out of their two-game trip with victories. Instead, after beating the Wolf Pack in Reno, Nevada last Thursday 3-1, UNM ended up 1-1 in their games against Nevada and San Diego State.
The Lobos (12-10, 5-4 Mountain West) sit in fifth place after the weekend, and would have leaped up two spots if they had managed a set in any of the final three against SDSU.
The fourth set seemed to have been the best chance for the Lobos to do just that. The team hit .355 in the set, the highest of the game, but two of the four attack errors came at a costly time for UNM. In a 22-22 tie, SDSU (7-16, 4-6 MW) took advantage, finishing the match 25-23.
UNM would not overcome the late fourth-set collapse, and SDSU claimed the final set by a count of 15-9.
Although first place in the conference is looking more and more out of reach following Colorado State’s undefeated 10-0 mark in conference play (17-3 overall), second place is wide open. Just 1.5 games separate the four teams above the .500 mark in Mountain West play, aside from the Rams.
The Lobos will have a quick turnaround this week as the team faces off in an uncharacteristic Tuesday-night affair against Air Force. Normally, MW games are played on Thursdays and Saturdays, but for the only time this season the Lobos will face the Falcons (10-14, 3-6 MW) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Liam Cary-Eaves is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Liam_CE.
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