After a quick start, the Lobos couldn’t finish the job in a 3-2 loss to San Jose State in San Jose, California on Thursday night.
It appeared things were going smoothly for New Mexico (10-6, 1-2 MW), who started the first Mountain West road match of the season with 25-21 and 26-24 wins in the first two sets. However, after intermission, the Lobos ran out of steam, and UNM dropped the next three sets.
Thursday night’s contest against SJSU (8-7, 1-2 MW) was all too familiar for head coach Jeff Nelson. Just like in Saturday’s 3-2 home loss to Boise State the Lobos had a chance to put the match away, but wound up with a loss instead.
“San Jose battled back really hard,” Nelson said in a release. “But again, we had match points in game four. The focus and the accountability doesn’t seem to be there when it’s on the line.”
Senior captain Julia Warren has not seen the court since Mountain West play has begun, and continues to be listed as day-to-day with a slight tear in her MCL.
Nelson said not having the backbone of the club has posed for major problems in UNM’s last two contests.
“We really lack the leadership and spirit when Julia’s not out there,” Nelson said in the statement. “It’s not that other kids aren’t trying, but she’s the one that pumping her fists and getting everyone engaged. It’s not an excuse.”
After intermission, the Lobos dropped the third set 25-19 before needing extra points in game four. In the fourth set, senior outside hitter Cassie House came up hobbling, which Nelson said hindered UNM’s chance of closing out the contest.
With J’Kaylee Clark out for the season and Warren having missed the last three contests, the Lobos really can’t afford to lose another key player to injury.
House ended up playing all five sets, coming up with 16 kills and eight blocks on the night. While she had the most total points with 24, fellow senior outside hitter Devanne Sours picked up the most kills in the match with 18.
Despite posting solid numbers, the Lobos were unable to garner a win in any of the final three games, falling to the Spartans 15-13 in the final set.
New Mexico will take on Fresno State on Saturday with first serve scheduled for 2 p.m. MT.
Liam Cary-Eaves is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers volleyball, women’s basketball and baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Liam_CE.