After a tough loss in four sets against the San Jose State Spartans, the University of New Mexico volleyball team traveled west to duel against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The UNLV Rebels took the first set by a total score of 25-12. The first set featured six service errors by UNLV and a six-to-one Rebel run that extended the UNLV lead from 3-4 to 9-5.
In the second set, the Lobos responded with a 25-19 set win. UNLV had its own response, taking the next two sets 25-16 and 25-19. Overall in the match, UNLV had 62 kills compared to New Mexico’s 38.
The loss against the Rebels led the Lady Lobos to a duel against the Air Force Falcons. New Mexico faltered in three straight sets with final set scores of 25-21, 25-19 and 25-18.
Lauren Twitty led the Lobos in kills with nine as Maddie Freiwald had a team-high of 27 assists. The Falcons lead the match in kills (38-31), aces (6-0), assists (36-29) and digs (37-29).
In the first set, the Lobos were immediately without footing against the Falcons. Although Twitty and Yasmin Tan put up strong kills and blocks against Air Force, the Lobos managed to fall eight points to the Falcon’s 10 put up on the board.
The Lady Lobos gained back some ground as they cut the lead to 15-11, but Air Force went on their own run to increase their lead to seven.
A Kaitlynn Bisassou kill and an ace from Abbey Willison cut the Falcon’s lead to 23-21. Unfortunately for the Lobos, Air Force would score the next two points to win the first set.
The Falcons got their last point of the set from a hit by UNM that went out of bounds and was challenged by UNM, as they argued that the hit was touched by Air Force. However, the replay booth reviewed the hit and found that it wasn't touched by Air Force, leading to an Air Force set win of 25-21.
The second set began with UNM taking an early lead until Air Force went on a 6-0 run to decrease UNM’s lead and eventually take it, making the score 12-11. After the Falcons got on top, they added more points to their lead making it a 17-13 set.
Losing momentum, the Lobos called a timeout to try and rally the troops to make a run at winning the set, but the Falcons instead had other plans as they went on an 8-2 run, eventually winning the set 25-19.
The third set opened with a kill from Tan. The Lobos later went toe to toe with the Falcons tying the set at six, seven and eight.
The final set was much like the second set in which the Lobos trailed by single digits and went on spurts of their own to give themselves a chance at taking the lead. In step, much like the second and first sets, Air Force answered all of UNM’s runs and gained a three-point lead, 15-12.
A couple of errors cut the margin to one point, but Air Force responded with a kill and went on a 5-0 run that would inch Air Force closer to securing the win as they led 22-17.
The Falcons finished the match with clean 25-18 win over the Lobos in the third set. This put Air Force at a 4-6 record in the Mountain West Conference and New Mexico at 1-9 in the conference.
In a post-match interview, offside hitter Biassou commented on the attitude the team had coming into the game and the progress New Mexico will need to overcome their current record.
"The game plan was to get a dub and to play confident and fearless," Biassou said. "We only have four weeks left in the season, so I think just going out and playing every game like it’s our last — playing free and fearless (is how we make progress)."
New Mexico will look to get on track as they host San Diego State University on Thursday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. at Johnson Center.
Reyes Gallegos is a sports reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dailylobo
Alanie Rael is the sports editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @AllyRael