Kicking off its Mountain West Conference (MWC) tournament, the University of New Mexico women's volleyball team played both Colorado State University (CSU) and the University of Wyoming this past week. The Lady Lobos fell to both CSU and Wyoming, putting New Mexico at a 5-9 record on the season.
On Thursday, Sept. 26, UNM played three sets against Colorado State in their MWC opener game. CSU won the sets with the scores being 25-13 in the first, 25-11 in the second and 25-15 in the third. Even with the loss, Lobo outside hitters Lauren Twitty and Tai Bierra both led the team with five kills each. Bierra also had the team's only two service aces through the game.
The Lobos were outnumbered in kills, assists and blocks during the three sets with 16 kills to CSU’s 39, 4 blocks to 15 and 15 assists to 38.
After the loss in Fort Collins, the Lobos came home and played against Wyoming on Saturday at UNM’s Dreamstyle Arena. Both teams played competitively and consistently kept the score close. They went the full five sets with Wyoming coming out victorious in the end.
Coming into the game, Wyoming had a total record of 6-6 with a 1-0 record in the MWC. The Lobos had a 5-8 record and stood at 0-1 in conference play. Wyoming had previously beat the University of Nevada, Las Vegas the previous Thursday.
Wyoming won the first (25-17), fourth (25-20) and final set (17-15) against UNM, while the Lobos managed to win the second (25-21) and third (28-26) sets.
Throughout all sets, the teams kept the score close. They each exchanged points and as one would take the lead, the other would close it. Twitty and middle blocker Rachel Murphy led the game with high numbers of kills — Twitty had a total of 16 and Murphy tallied 14.
After the game, both Murphy and Twitty shared their thoughts about the match during postgame interviews.
"I think we really did a good job of staying connected, and I’m super proud of my teammates," Twitty said. "That was a long game, and we fought until the end. Wyoming’s a great team, and it was a good environment and just really fun to play."
Murphy seconded Twitty’s optimism.
"I think it was just a lot of having to put the ball on their side of the court and having them make the errors, even though we did a good job with the rally ourselves," Murphy said.
Both players said they believe they were connected as teammates and had a lot of control within the game. It showed through their stats in how well they maintained a close score. Both UNM and Wyoming had the same number of assists at 57. UNM had 63 kills while Wyoming had 64.
In errors, the game got away from the Lobos. UNM racked up a total of 31 errors compared to 25 from the Cowgirls.
This weekend, UNM volleyball travels to Fresno, California to play Fresno State on Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. On Oct. 5, the team will head south to take on San Diego State University at 3 p.m.
Angelina Pompeo is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @PompeoAngelina