Stevens: Lobos & Ashley Newman Go Down to NMSU Aggies

Oct. 23, 2012

New Mexico State Aggies 3, New Mexico Lobos 0 (25-23, 25-13, 25-19)

Thursday: 7 p.m. (MT), vs. UNLV at The Pit
Saturday: vs. 6 p.m. (MT), vs. Fresno State at Johnson Center
Live GameTracker, Stats, Game Story

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/

And then there were eight.....

The University of New Mexico loss on the scoreboard was bad enough considering it was New Mexico State Aggies on the positive side of the 3-0 (25-23, 25-13, 25-19) count that lite up The Pit Tuesday night.

But the Lobos (18-6) might have suffered a bigger blow when 6-foot Ashley Newman was assisted up The Pit ramp during UNM's 23-13 spanking in Game Two. The Lobos had to finish the game with eight Lobos dressed in pink.

"What do you do when you can't substitute?" said Lobo Coach Jeff Nelson as he walked up The Pit ramp to check on Newman.

The Lobos played well enough to win Game One, but fell 25-23 after leading 22-20. They were blown out 25-13 in Game Three and seemingly devastated by the loss of Newman, who went down near the net with the score 13-7 in NMSU's favor in Game Two.

The Lobos came out of the break with some fire and better movement, but the Aggies continued to throw a double block on UNM's top hitter, Chantale Riddle, and UNM collapsed after leading 16-15. The Aggies scored seven straight points to take a commanding 22-16 lead that they squeezed into a 25-19 final.

"After the injury, we couldn't function," said Nelson. "It's another knee injury and our whole team was completely freaked out. It might be our fourth season-ending injury.

"There are only so many times kids can see it without it having a huge impact."

Nelson said there was no training room available in which to move Newman into and she had to lie in the locker room at the two-set break.

"They were really scared," Nelson said of his Lobos. "We lost Game Three because of our own errors, but we really tried. We're really depleted. We were down to eight players and our freshman outside hitter was struggling and we didn't have a sub.

"I have to figure out a way to coach better, with no subs, to keep them in the game and keep them focused. I can't get past what we are looking at with the injury right now."

One thing the already-injury-depleted Lobos don't need is another Lobo on the disabled list, especially with the back stretch of the Mountain West race on the near horizon. The Lobos played a tough game with the Aggies and meet UNLV on Thursday and Fresno State on Saturday in Mountain West action.

The Lobos got 14 kills from Chantale Riddle and six from Lena Skipper. UNM hit .040 on the night and NMSU hit .276. UNM was minus .154 in the final game and had 33 total kills.

The Aggies got 16 kills and only two hitting errors from Meredith Hays, the Western Athletic Conference Preseason Player of The Year. "Meredith Hays had the match of her life," said Nelson. "She hasn't played that well all year, but kudos to here. "It was a rivalry game and she showed up to play."

The Aggies also beat the Lobos on the defensive side of the net where they had 18 blocks to seven for UNM. NMSU had three solos and 15 block assists.

Game One: New Mexico State 25, New Mexico 23

The Lobos got seven kills from Riddle in Game One, but only hit .184 to .344 for the Aggies. NMSU also had six blocks (five assists, one solo) while UNM did not get a point off a block. Meredith Hays, the preseason WAC Player of The Year, had seven kills and no errors on her 11 attacks for a .636 hitting percentage. Desiree Scott was 4-for-4 on kills for NMSU. UNM's Lena Skipper had three kills.

The Aggies did a better job at the net early with balanced striking while UNM leaned on Riddle's bombs. When the visitors went up 10-5, Nelson called a timeout. The Lobos came out of the huddle and worked the NMSU lead down to three, 13-13, and then to two points, 14-12. The Aggies called time.

Another Riddle bomb cut NMSU's lead to 15-14 and UNM formed a 15-all tie off a middle block. A Lexis Ross kill finally put the Lobos up 16-15. NMSU called for another team huddle.

Riddle went long from the back row to make it 16-16, but converted on her next hit to make it 17-16. A service winner by Lena Sipper gave the Lobos an 18-16 lead. The Aggies struck back to form an 18-18 tie.

The Lobos had a chance to control the run to the wire, up 22-20. The Aggies got momentum back to go up 23-22 on three straight points, including a service ace. Nelson called another huddle. Riddle got blocked up the middle and the Aggies were serving for the match at 24-22. NMSU held on for the 25-23 win.

Game Two: New Mexico State 25, New Mexico Lobos 13

The Lobos had a good chance to win Game One. This one wasn't close.

The Aggies took control of the game early going up 6-2 and using their net power to drift up 14-8 and 18-9. UNM's Ashley Newman was carried up The Pit ramp when the score was 13-7, with a leg injury. Nelson called time at 18-9, but UNM was in a hefty hole, down nine points to the talented Aggies.

The Lobos were never able to stop the Aggies' roll. They went up 23-11 and cruised to the 25-13 win.

The Lobos' hitting dropped to .028 as New Mexico State often threw a double block in front of Riddle and were getting hands on her bombs. The Lobo had only three kills in the second set and UNM had only 10 team kills. NMSU hit a solid .333 in the second game and went into the break hitting .339 to UNM's .108. The Aggies had 12 blocks in the two games and UNM had two blocks.

Game Three: New Mexico State 25, New Mexico Lobos 19

This was a better game -- early.

The Lobos came out in Game Three with a little more fire, movement and hustle. They went up 2-0 and worked that into a 12-10 lead. The Aggies tied it at 12-all. NMSU went up 13-12 and 14-13 before UNM again formed a knot at 14-all. NMSU was up 15-14 at the media timeout.

The Lobos came out of that break to go up 16-15, but an Aggie spike made it 16-all and then an attack error by Elijah Gunsaulus and another NMSU kill pushed the Aggies up 18-16. UNM called time. Riddle went long on her first attack after the break and NMSU was up 19-16. The Aggies got a savage hit from Hays followed by a UNM attacking error and NMSU was up 21-16 going down the stretch. NMSU had outscored UNM 6-0 after UNM's 16-15 lead.

The Aggies made it a 7-0 run before UNM got a winner at the net to make it 22-17 and got a service ace from Ross to make it 22-18. Ross then pounded her serve into the net and NMSU was up 23-18. They held on for the win. The Aggies are now 23-10.