The University of New Mexico volleyball team played the Colorado State University Rams on Saturday, Oct. 1. The final score of 3-1 Rams does not reflect how competitive of a match it was: the Lobos lost with a scoring margin of only -5 and had more blocks and digs than the Rams.
Kaitlynn Biassou had 17.5 points to lead the team in scoring. Uxue Guereca had a double-double with 12.5 points and 12 digs. Avital Jaloba led in blocks with eight and had a hitting percentage of .538.
The Rams are 11-4 on the season and are undefeated in conference play at 4-0, making them first in the Mountain West Conference.
In the first set, Ram Ruby Kayser started with the serve and Kennedy Stanford scored the first point for Colorado State. The Lobos took the lead in the set at 3-2 with an Alena Moldan ace. The Rams then went on a 9-2 scoring run, though, that forced the Lobos to take a timeout down 12-7.
Biassou had a kill for the Lobos to interrupt the 6-0 scoring run out of the time out, but the Rams did not slow down, making UNM take another timeout down 18-10. Out of the timeout, the Lobos put together an impressive 10-5 run to keep the set competitive. The Rams took a timeout to try to stop UNM’s momentum while still up 23-20.
At set point for the Rams, Biassou had back-to-back kills and Moldan had an ace, making the score 24-23. The Rams won the first set 25-23 off a Karina Leber kill, now up in the match 1-0.
UNM scored the first point of the second set and were able to build a lead to go up 4-2. The Lobos stayed in front, but the Rams tied the game four times before taking the lead. UNM called a timeout down 13-9.
The Lobos came out of the timeout going on a 6-2 run to tie the game. The Rams answered with a 4-0 run of their own, with Stanford scoring back-to-back points. The Lobos then called a timeout down 19-15.
Out of the timeout, UNM went on a run which forced Colorado State to take a timeout up 22-20. The Lobos did not lose any momentum, tying the game at 23-23 with a Jaloba and Melissa Walden block. Ultimately, Kayser had an ace to set up the Rams’ set point, and they won the set 26-24 off a Naeemah Weathers and Stanford block. Colorado was now up in the match 2-0.
The third set started with the Lobos taking the lead 4-1; Biassou scored the first and fourth points. Kali Wolf had an ace to put the Lobos up 7-3, followed by a Guereca kill.
The Lobos went on a 5-0 run with Wolf at the serve. Lea Zurlinden and Lauryn Payne had a block to put the Lobos up 14-6. Colorado State called a time out down 18-9. Out of their timeout, the Rams scored back-to-back points and had a 4-0 run to put them down 23-18.
Biassou served at set point, but Leber had a spike to give the Rams possession. Malaya Jones had an error which gave the Lobos the set, winning 25-19 and bringing the match score to 2-1.
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Colorado State started the fourth set going up 6-2. Leber had an error to put the Lobos within one point, but a kill maintained the Rams’ lead. Stanford had an error which tied the game for the Lobos at 13-13.
After the Rams took the lead, the Lobos tied it up again at 17-17. UNM took a timeout after Alyssa Groves and Weathers had a block to put the Rams up by 4. At match point, CSU’s Ciera Pritchard had an ace to win the set 25-18, ultimately winning the match 3-1.
Head coach Jon Newman-Gonchar talked about a couple mistakes the team made that could have put the Lobos in a better position. He was overall happy with the team’s performance, and said losses like this served as learning opportunities to be ready to replicate what worked against teams in the future.
“There was a couple situations, a couple moments, just where we would have liked to (have) been better at the exact moment because that’s what opened up a 3-point run. And we’re figuring that out; It’s the early part of the season for conference. We’re going to see all these teams again, so we take these chances to go battle them, and then let’s flip the result. That's our method,” said Newman-Gonchar.
The Lobos are now 10-4 overall and 1-3 in conference games. The team has a lot to build on to make a run in the Mountain West. They play the Air Force in Johnson Center on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m.
Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @thomasbulger10