New Mexico is still searching after the team’s fourth consecutive loss on Thursday night, this one a sweep at the hands of Colorado State. The Lobos (10-8, 1-4 Mountain West) couldn’t get any momentum on night where the team was encouraging fans to “Jam Johnson,” instead falling 25-19, 25-21, 25-21 against the Rams (10-5, 4-0). CSU’s attack was dominant, posting a .389 hitting percentage, while Lobos were only hitting .074. CSU had good blocks as well — 12 team blocks were just four times more than those of UNM.
New Mexico volleyball is looking to bounce back in Johnson Center this weekend after suffering three straight losses, and finding itself towards the bottom of the conference standings Head coach Jeff Nelson admitted it was a rough trip for Lobos (10-7, 1-3 Mountain West) last week, as they dropped both road matches. “We did not take anything away from San José State,” Nelson said at Monday’s media luncheon. “And on Saturday we just really struggled with Fresno State.”
After opening up conference play with a win, New Mexico has stumbled its past three matches and finds itself towards the bottom of the standings early in Mountain West play. Fresno State (10-5, 1-3 MW) needed just three sets to send UNM home and back to the drawing board after a 3-0 sweep on Saturday afternoon. “I just think it’s gut-check time,” head coach Jeff Nelson said in a release. “We were 10-4 and now we’re 10-7.”
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.
With two starters on the New Mexico bench, the Lobos will look to steal a couple victories on the team’s trip to California. UNM is coming off a split in its first two conference home games of the year, winning the opener 3-0 against Air Force on Sept. 22, and dropping a 3-2 series to Boise State on Saturday. “Considering where we’re at, it wasn’t a bad weekend,” Nelson said. “We feel like we should’ve gotten both wins, but we’re playing down two starters.”
The opportunity was there, but a sluggish start and a stumble at the finish cost UNM a perfect start to the Mountain West. New Mexico’s start to what would become a 3-2 loss to Boise State on Saturday was not how head coach Jeff Nelson drew it up in the pregame, and it took the Lobos an entire game to get going.
The Lobos certainly weren’t in midseason conference form, but the squad didn’t have to be. New Mexico came out in a 3-0 sweep over Air Force on Thursday night, while team captain Julia Warren watched from the bench with a big black brace on her right knee.
If New Mexico has taken anything away from non-conference play, it’s that the Mountain West title is wide open and up for grabs. Everyone begins conference play with the same 0-0 record, but there have been some changes on how the Mountain West is stacking up this year. For starters, powerhouse Colorado State (6-5) has already lost more games than the squad lost all last season when the Rams were 26-4 and 18-0 in MW play.
New Mexico had a long day on Saturday, splitting its final doubleheader of the year while taking both non-conference matches the full five sets. UNM (9-4) couldn’t quite close things out in a 3-2 loss to Samford for the morning contest. After dropping the first set 25-21, the Lobos rebounded to take sets two and three with 25-17 and 25-22 scores, respectively.
Jeff Nelson is not just another coach to seniors Cassie House and Julia Warren. New Mexico’s head coach has had the two under his wing from a young age, even when Nelson was just getting acclimated to the community, and the chile, himself.
An opportunity to get better or a chance to play in an electric postseason atmosphere? Either way, New Mexico did not back down against the number one team in the nation in front of 4,473 fans, the fourth largest crowd in program history.
The past two nights, teams have not been able to master its serves. In both contests UNM has played in, the Lobos and opponents have combined for 42 service errors, 21 each night. New Mexico (6-2) would eventually find its groove and complete a 3-0 sweep over Montreal in an exhibition match on Saturday night.
New Mexico opened up the Lobo Classic with a bang on Thursday night, defeating Arkansas 3-1 behind senior Julia Warren’s career mark at WisePies Arena. Head coach Jeff Nelson said going into the match that he wanted to see some major production from his senior pin hitters, and all three tallied double-digit kills on the night.
Two opponents will do battle against New Mexico before the Lobos’ highly anticipated match against No. 1 Nebraska on Saturday night. The Lobo Classic begins on Thursday against Arkansas, followed by an exhibition on Friday against Montreal.
It wasn’t a perfect weekend, but New Mexico closed out the USF tournament by dominating Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon. UNM made the trip to Tampa, Florida despite the threat of Hurricane Hermine, but the six teams who made the trip to the Sun Dome were not affected by the weather.
Three double-doubles were not enough for New Mexico in game two of the USF Tournament on Friday night. Sophomore Carson Heilborn, alongside seniors Julia Warren and Devanne Sours, individually posted a solid outing against South Florida, but UNM (4-2) couldn’t close in the second match of the day after taking down Stetson 3-1 in the first contest of the day.
After nearly sweeping the weekend, New Mexico turns its attention to the Sunshine State to partake in the USF Tournament. The tournament will consist of Stetson, South Florida and Western Carolina in Tampa, Florida. Stetson will be first on the horizon for the Lobos, with first serve scheduled for 9 a.m. MT.
The final game of the UNM Tournament on Saturday night had a different rotation than what most were expecting, one boasting a more youthful appearance. After a thrilling 3-1 victory over Arizona State late Friday, the Lobos came out flat in the first game of Saturday’s double header, head coach Jeff Nelson said.
Head coach Jeff Nelson knows how to start a season on the right foot. The UNM volleyball team took two wins on Friday, its opening day of the 2016 fall season. This was also the first day of the UNM Tournament, which is happening this weekend at Johnson Center.
New Mexico is not shying away from heightened competition at the start of the 2016 campaign, and that's just how head coach Jeff Nelson likes it. Two of last year’s top competitors in the nation will be heading to Johnson Gym to participate in the UNM Tournament this weekend.