Lobos Outlast Air Force
Nov. 1, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Lobo volleyball rallied from a four-point deficit in the fifth set to earn a 16-14 set win and earn a much-needed Mountain West road win on Thursday night with a 3-2 (25-20, 26-24, 20-25, 19-25, 16-14) victory at Air Force on Thursday evening.
It was only the fourth time in the Falcons'-Lobos' 32-match series history (Lobos lead 29-3...dating back to 1997) that the teams went to a fifth set. The last time the teams played to a deciding set was 11 years ago, almost to the day, on Nov. 2, 2001 on Air Force's home court. The Lobos also won that match.
New Mexico improves to 19-8 overall and 6-5 in MW play while the Falcons fall to 8-16 and 2-8 in conference play.
Chantale Riddle led all players and tied her career-high in kills with 24 while adding 16 digs. It's the redshirt sophomore's 12th double-double of the season. Lena Skipper had a career-high 15 kills and added seven digs while freshman Alijah Gunsaulus recorded 10 kills and 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the season.
The Lobos again had to go with a new lineup and played without libero Miquella Lovato. The junior sustained a head injury in New Mexico's practice earlier Thursday afternoon. Junior Lexi Ross donned the off-colored jersey for UNM and recorded a career-best and match-best 23 digs.
Setter Hannah Johnson also achieved a career high in set assists, recording 31 while adding four kills, four blocks and four digs.
Air Force was paced by Felicia Clement (16 kills) and Cami Richan (15 kills). The Falcons outblocked the Lobos, 30 to 20. But New Mexico hit .207 to .156 by Air Force and the Lobos had 66 kills to 56 by the Falcons.
New Mexico travels to Boise State for a 1 p.m. MT match on Saturday, Nov. 3.
First Set - Lobos 25, Air Force 17
In Game One the Lobos took an early 7-2 thanks to strong net play by Skye Gullatt and Chantale Riddle. Air Force struggled with New Mexico's offense and big blocks, allowing the lead to grow to 11-4 and forcing a timeout by the Falcons. Four Lobo miscues following the breather allowed Air Force to come within three points, 11-8, but a block by Megan Short and Hannah Johnson allowed UNM to sideout and the Cherry and Silver controlled the set the rest of the way. New Mexico took the game, 25-17.
The Lobos hit .250 in the first game, recording nine kills on 28 swings and committing just two errors. The Falcons had 11 kills, but also had 11 errors in 37 attempts for a .000 hitting percentage.
Second Set - Lobos 26, Air Force 24
The teams battled back and forth in Game Two until the 6-6 mark. A Lobo attack error sparked a 4-1 run by the Falcons and gave them a 10-7 edge.
The Falcons had better blocking in the Second Set and got strong net play from Cami Richan, while the Lobos struggled at the serving line and had a number of attacking and blocking errors allowing the Falcons' lead to grow to 17-12.
UNM chipped away at the deficit, coming to within two points of Air Force 18-16. The Falcons held their ground that time, but a kill by Alijah Gunsaulus made it 21-18 and spurred a run of five unanswered points, allowing UNM to take a one-point lead. The teams went point-for-point until a kill by Riddle made it 25-24 for New Mexico. A block by Short and Skipper ended a long volley and Set Two, 26-24, in favor of the Lobos.
New Mexico again outhit the Falcons in the Second Set, recording 15 kills (.143 pct.) to just nine by Air Force (.000 pct.). The Lobos also stepped up their blocking, particularly in the final stretch of the set, getting a solo block a piece from Short and Gullatt and recording four block assists in the game.
Third Set - Air Force 25, Lobos 20
An ace serve by Rachel Bradley Powers followed by a block from Hillary Keltner and Taylor Parker gave the Falcons an early 5-2 edge in the Third Game. More kills by Keltner and a Lobo attack error allowed Air Force's lead to grow to 8-4. Strong blocking by Cami Richan and Ayesha Hein on the outside pushed the Falcons' advantage to 12-7.
The Lobos leaned on Riddle's arm to help pull them out of the five-point hole, coming within two points of Air Force twice, at the 13-11 mark and again at 14-12. But the Falcons used blocking to keep the Lobos at bay and soon had an 18-14 lead.
Air Force held on to the lead and had set point at 24-18. New Mexico got a kill from Riddle followed by an attack error by the Falcons to put off set point, but a kill from Taylor Parker ended Game Three, 25-20, in favor of Air Force.
The Falcons had five blocks to none by the Lobos and hit a much-improved .333 (15k-5e-30ta) to just .194 (14k-8e-31ta) by New Mexico.
Fourth Set - Air Force 25, Lobos 19
Back-to-back service aces by Ayesha Hein helped the Falcons take a 3-1 edge at the start of the fourth set and Air Force continued to roll to a 7-4 advantage.
The Lobos came back with three unanswered points -- a kill from Skipper, a block from Short and Johnson and an attack error by Air Force. But a big block by the Falcons started a 5-2 run and gave the home team a 14-9 lead. Air Force's lead grew to 18-13 and the Falcons held on for the set win, 25-19, and sent the match to a fifth set.
The Falcons hit .444 in the Fourth Game, getting 14 kills on 27 swings while committing just three errors. New Mexico hit okay -- .222
Fifth Set - Lobos 16, Air Force 14
Air Force grabbed a 5-2 lead that grew to 8-4 off strong net play from Taylor Parker and Hillary Keltner. A kill from Skipper cut the lead to three points, but a kill from Felicia Clement trumped the point and the Falcons maintained the lead, 10-6.
A 3-1 run featuring a kills from Gunsaulus and Riddle and a block by Gullat brought the Lobos to within one point, 10-9, but the run was cut short by a UNM attack error. At 12-9 the Lobos took a timeout for one last regroup. Riddle ended a long volley with a cross shot and Gullatt followed on the next play with a kill on an overpass, 12-11. Another kill by Riddle tied the set at 12 all and this time it was Air Force who called the timeout.
The teams traded kills, before the Falcons had match point, 14-13 off a kill from Richan. Back-to-back blocks by Short and Johnson allowed the Lobos to reach match point, 15-14, and a kill from Johnson ended the contest, 16-14, in favor of New Mexico.