Tying a program record is going to turn some heads for anyone, but the way Skye Gullatt ended her career as a Lobo received conference attention. For the week of Nov. 24-28, Gullatt received Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week honors for her performance against Air Force in the final game of the 2015 campaign. Gullatt put together nine blocking assists, a solo block, and a dig in the final game of her collegiate career.
Wednesday night couldn’t have ended more fittingly as UNM fans bid farewell to the three volleyball seniors in a 3-0 sweep over Utah State. Facing match point, senior setter Hannah Johnson lofted up a ball to fellow senior middle blocker Skye Gullatt who dropped the ball on the hardwood for the final action of the 2015 season in Johnson Center. While the Lobos have two remaining games on their schedule, UNM’s home court will be absent from action until next fall.
A fairy tale ending carrying UNM’s three seniors into the NCAA tournament to bid farewell to their collegiate careers is out of question. However, individual milestones prove there is still a lot to play for down their final stretch on the hardwood. Wednesday night will be the last night senior setter Hannah Johnson steps onto the court in Johnson Center. She currently resides in second place in program history on the all-time assists list. The senior currently has 4,046, just 128 behind Jade Anderson. The setter is also within striking distance of another UNM milestone as she is just 31 digs away from claiming 1,000 digs.
The Lobos have been searching for a go-to player all season. Outside hitter Cassie House is beginning to emerge as that player as the season comes to a close. New Mexico (15-13, 8-7 MW) was staring a four-game losing streak in the face. The squad asked House for some guidance, and the tall Rio Rancho native answered with her first career double-double of 10 kills and a career-high 11 digs. Behind the hard-hitting outside, UNM conquered Fresno State (14-15, 6-9 MW) with a 3-0 sweep on Saturday afternoon.
While facing a 2-0 deficit in Las Vegas, the Lobos comeback pursuit fell short on Thursday night. New Mexico has had problems all season long in the fifth set and Thursday night’s showing against the Rebels was no different. UNM (14-13, 7-7 MW) have gone 1-6 in matches extending to five games.
Just last week the Lobos were in position to make a run at the No. 2 spot in the conference. This week New Mexico is fighting to stay above .500. At the tail end of UNM’s four-game home stand, the Lobos couldn’t put together a win when they really needed one. Barring a major meltdown from one of the three teams ahead of UNM in the standings, New Mexico will look to maintain a fourth-place spot in the conference.
Colorado State’s size posed big problems for New Mexico’s offense in a 3-0 sweep at Johnson Center on Saturday night. The Rams (21-3, 14-0 MW) showed why they are still the top team in the Mountain West after sweeping the Lobos for the second time this season.
New Mexico’s quest to rise in the Mountain West fell short in a five set heartbreaker against Wyoming on Thursday night in Johnson Center. It was a roller coaster of a night for the Lobos as a whole, as the squad couldn’t find any sort of consistency on the night.
New Mexico will face a big test this weekend beginning with Wyoming on Thursday night. The race for first appears to be out of reach for the moment, but the runner-up spot is wide open with four teams right in the thick of things. UNLV, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Boise State are the four programs sitting above the .500 plateau, all in a position to finish behind the undefeated CSU Rams.
For the second straight match, UNM’s defense has propelled the squad to consecutive sweeps on their home court. Halfway into the Lobos’ four game home-stand, New Mexico has yet to lose a set. On Thursday night, the Lobos got off to a sluggish start, but really got things clicking en route to a 3-0 sweep over the San Jose Spartans.
The Lobos’ newly acquired identity has translated into recent success. A complete team effort allowed New Mexico to rid of Air Force in a three set sweep in Johnson Center on Tuesday night. With head coach Jeff Nelson’s new lineup, UNM has won four of the team’s last five games.
The New Mexico volleyball team finally gets to relax, eat some green chile and play in front of their fans at Johnson Center. Well, that may not be entirely true. The Lobos just returned from a 3-2 loss at San Diego State as part of the team’s 1-1 split on the road. After returning to the Land of Enchantment on Sunday, the Lobos must turn around and play their only Tuesday night match of the season against Air Force.
Three hitters collecting double-digit kills were not enough for New Mexico to overcome its post-intermission lull. The Lobos came out of the gates scorching hot on the team’s trip to San Diego State, winning the first two games with 25-16 scores. However, Cassie House, Simone Henderson and Devanne Sours’ 10-kill performances on Saturday were not enough to push UNM to a single victory in the final three sets.
After having found some consistency at home this week, New Mexico will go back on the road in hopes of climbing the Mountain West standings ladder. The Lobos (11-9, 4-3 Mountain West) currently sit among the four teams in the conference with a winning record in MW play. Wyoming holds a half-game advantage with their 5-3 MW record (15-5 overall), and Boise State has a full game on UNM at 6-2 (14-6 overall).
Head Coach Jeff Nelson’s newly added zone blocking scheme has rejuvenated New Mexico’s defensive muscle, translating to a jumpstart in the Lobos’ offense. For the first time since Oct. 6, 2011, the Lobos garnered a home victory over the UNLV Rebels. Coming into Saturday’s 3-1 victory, New Mexico had a 1-5 record for the previous six meetings between the clubs.
All season, Nelson has been trying to find a way to limit the errors and find a rotation that worked to his advantage. He may have just found some answers. With a new blocking scheme, a unique look at the libero spot, and limited errors, the Lobos took down Fresno State 3-0 Thursday night at Johnson Center.
New Mexico’s misfortune on the road warrants a need to foster wins in front of a home audience. Away games have been a bit of a sore spot for UNM during the 2015 campaign, as the Lobos have only pieced together a 1-5 record in enemy territory. At Johnson Center and WisePies Arena, New Mexico has been able to garner a 5-3 record.
New Mexico was swept by Colorado State and Wyoming this past week. UNM started a new lineup at Wyoming, but the Lobos still fell 0-3 on Saturday as they had on Thursday against CSU. Middle blocker Simone Henderson started at outside hitter, Mercedes Pacheco at libero, and Cassie House was put into the front row late in the match. The moves weren’t enough to kick start UNM’s offense.
Colorado State continued its domination against the New Mexico during a 3-0 sweep on Thursday night. The Lobos have not beaten CSU on its home court in over two decades, and must wait another year to try to end that streak.
Fort Collins, Colorado has not been hospitable to the visiting New Mexico volleyball team. Colorado State has had UNM’s number under head coach Jeff Nelson, who has never garnered a win on the road against the Rams. Since taking over as head coach in 2007, Nelson has only beaten CSU twice out of 16 matches against the Rams.