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UNM volleyball battles San Diego State to win 3-1

The University of New Mexico’s volleyball team faced the San Diego State University Aztecs, resulting in 3-1 a win. Going into the night, the two teams had the same record of 2-6 in conference matches — both teams looked to put an end to their losing streak. The Lobos ended their three-game losing streak and the Aztecs continue on their now six-game streak.

The sets were hard fought with a total of 24 ties and 11 lead changes across four sets. UNM won despite San Diego leading them in total attacks, kills, digs and blocks. The win advances UNM to an overall record of 12-7.

Kaitlynn Biassou had a great night and led the team in attacks, points and kills. Her team high of 20 points was followed by Uxue Guereca, who had 11 points in the match. Avital Jaloba led the team in blocks with seven.

UNM scored the first 2 points of the first set, but the Aztecs tied it on a kill by Aztec Madison Corf. With the Lobos up 8-7, Guereca tapped it over the net to protect the lead but San Diego tied it up 10-10 after UNM was called for a net violation.

The set continued in a back and forth with the two teams refusing to let the other pull ahead, tying the game up five times before the Lobos went up 19-18. This led to the Aztecs taking a timeout.

Out of the timeout, Lobo Lauryn Payne pushed it over the net to score. This was immediately followed by a Biassou kill which forced the Aztecs into their second timeout. The Lobos never let go of the lead and, at set point, Biassou spiked the ball to win the set 25-21 and put the Lobos up in the match 1-0.

The second set started with a 3-0 San Diego run that was ended by a Corf attack error. The Lobos battled back and, with a Jaloba ace, the Lobos were within one. They were not able to tie it up, though, with the Aztecs going on a 4-0 run. The Lobos called a timeout down 11-6.

Guereca ended the run with a kill, allowing the Lobos to go on a 5-0 run of their own. The Aztecs tried to kill UNM’s momentum by calling a timeout up 12-11.

Later in the set, the Lobos called a timeout down 20-17 to try to take control of the set. Lea Zurlinden had a block to tie the game 21-21, and Guereca had an ace to take the lead. The Lobos maintained their lead and, at set point, UNM forced the Aztecs into an attack error, hitting the ball out of bounds to win the set 25-23. UNM was now up in the match 2-0.

The third set started with San Diego going up 3-1, but the Lobos tied the game at 6-6 with a Jaloba and Anilee Sher block. However, the Aztecs didn’t give in and after coming within one point three times, the Lobos finally broke through and took the lead up 13-12; but their 5-0 run was ended by Aztec Elly Schraeder.

The Aztecs scored 7 consecutive points to put them up 19-14. Their lead was ended by Biassou, but a serving error gave possession back to the Aztecs. UNM called a timeout down 22-16 to try to build some momentum. At set point for San Diego, the Lobos were called for a set under the net — Aztecs won the set 25-18, but were still down 2-1 in the match.

The fourth set started with back-to-back points from Biassou. The Aztecs then went on a 6-1 run, but they were called for a double hit, allowing the Lobos to tie the game up at 6-6. The set was a grind with ten ties before the media timeout, but UNM was ultimately up 15-14.

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The Lobos went on a 7-4 run to control the pace of the set. Jaloba and Sher had a block to put the Lobos up 22-17. Guereca had a kill to set up match point and Aztec Mikela Labno had an error to win the set 25-21 for the Lobos and the match 3-1.

After the game, head coach Jon Newman-Gonchar talked about the team’s ability to come back and play from behind, specifically in the second set when they answered the Aztecs 4-0 run with a 5-0 run.

“It’s a game of momentum, a game of having little runs and a game of stopping little runs … I thought we stepped back on the service line and we just kept putting it back on them and that stressed them to a point where we closed that gap pretty fast. When we had the chance to make the little jump to strike: we struck,” Newman-Gonchar said.

The team next plays in Albuquerque on Oct. 27 against The University of Nevada.

Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @thomasbulger10

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