Rebels Win Fifth Straight, Sweep New Mexico
Sept. 29, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV volleyball team (11-5 overall, 3-0 Mountain West) opened up its home slate of the Mountain West season with a 3-0 sweep of the New Mexico Lobos (15-4, 2-2 MW) on Saturday night at the Cox Pavilion. The win, which was the fifth straight for UNLV, snapped a five-match losing streak to the Lobos that dated back to the 2009 season.
The volleyball program has only started a league season 3-0 twice dating back to 1984 - a total of 18 seasons. Besides this season, the only other instance of a 3-0 conference start was in 1998 - the last season that UNLV competed in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
UNLV out-hit UNM .218 to .083, which was a result of 12 more kills (42-30), three fewer errors (18-21) and two less attacks (110-108). The Rebels best hitting effort came in the third - a .344 - that saw them notch 15 kills with only four errors off 32 swings. The Lobos, on the other hand, could only muster one set above .100 for the night with their .139 clip in the second frame.
"It was a pretty amazing win," said head coach Cindy Fredrick. "I think, overall the team chemistry is amazing. The energy the team brought to the match was very phenomenal. I'd like to give kudos to Kaitlin (Winters) for coming out, holding her own and doing a nice job. I liked the way Sekola (Falemaka) is playing right now. She is on fire. Also, having Stephanie (Thelen) on the right side has made a big difference. She has really helped with the block."
The match featured 11 ties and five lead changes. Ultimately, the team - UNLV - that reached the 16-point mark first claimed all three frames. In the opening stanza, the Rebels broke a 9-all tie and never looked back. The final two sets witnessed UNM hold identical one-point leads at the 15-14 juncture only to see the home squad knot the score of at 15-all before reeling off two more victories.
Falemaka led the Rebels offensively with an 18-kill performance off a .361 hitting efficiency (18-5-36). She also chipped in six digs, two aces and two assisted blocks.
Daryn Glenn and Stephanie Thelen had nine kills apiece, while the former had seven digs to the latter's nine. Glenn also contributed three assisted blocks to Thelen's six assists and one assisted block.
Kinsey Caldwell dished out a match-high 32 assists to go along with 12 digs for her team-best seventh double-double. Caldwell added three blocks (one solo), two aces and a kill to her statistics.
Besides the 12-dig effort from Caldwell, UNLV got a match-best 14 digs from Allison Davies, who also had one ace and one assist.
The Lobos were led by Chantale Riddle, who had 10 kills, seven digs and five blocks (one solo). The setting duties were split between Jordan Russell (14 assists) and Hannah Johnson (13). Defensively, Alijah Gaunsaulus led all Lobos in digs with nine.
UNLV hits the road for the third time in four weeks with matches in Reno, Nev., and San Diego next week. The Rebels head north to face Nevada, Reno on Thursday, Oct. 4 (7:00 pm), for the first time as MW foes. The team then ventures to "America's Finest City" for a Sunday, Oct. 7 (1:00 pm), televised match (CBS Sports Network) at San Diego State.
NOTES: UNLV increased its lead in the head-to-head series with UNM to 17-13 ... UNLV improved to 8-6 overall in Mountain West home openers with all eight wins coming over the last nine seasons ... The five-match winning streak matches the longest since the team rattled off five consecutive between Sept. 2 and Sept. 10 last season ... The 3-0 start to the conference season was the first for UNLV since becoming a member of the MW since 1999 ... The best start for a Rebel squad in conference play was 5-0, which occurred in 1998 ... This season ties for the third fastest in program history to 11 wins, which has taken 16 total matches ... The 2007 team needed only 13 matches (11-2), while the 1998 squad needed 14 outings (11-3) ... The 2006 edition needed 16 matches (11-5).