Lobos Open Season at Home Against Southern and Duquesne

Aug. 22, 2012

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Lobo Volleyball (0-0, 0-0 MW) - Sheraton Airport/LA Boxing Lobo Classic

Friday, Aug. 24: Lobos vs. Southern, 3 p.m.; Lobos vs. Duquesne, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25: Lobos vs. Southern, 11 a.m.; Lobos vs. Duquesne, 7:30 p.m.
Watch it Live: All tournament matches will be streamed live via www.ProViewNetworks.com.
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico volleyball team opens its season at home with the Sheraton Airport/LA Boxing Lobo Classic. The Lobos begin play on Friday with a 3 p.m. match with Southern and a 7:30 p.m. contest against Duquesne. New Mexico faces the same two squads on Saturday, taking on Southern at 11 a.m. and Duquesne at 7:30 p.m. New Mexico had its first taste of competition last weekend in the programs annual alumni match. The current Lobos topped the Lobo Legacies, 3-2 (24-26, 27-25, 26-28, 25-15, 15-12).

•UNM is 5-0 in season-opening matches since the arrival of Jeff Nelson in 2007, and 19-12 since 1980. The Lobos' last loss on opening day was a 3-0 decision at NMSU on Aug. 29, 2006.
• The 2012 team returns six letterwinners who are hungry and ready to right the wrongs of last season, welcoming seven newcomers to aid in the pursuit -- four freshmen, two redshirt freshmen and one junior transfer.
•Hannah Johnson and Megan Short return after redshirting last year.
•Alijah Gunsaulus, Ashley Kelsey and Skye Gullatt all committed during the 2011-12 academic year, while Stelzer decided to walk on during the summer.
•Skipper was a late addition as well and due to her commitment with the Australian Women's National Team, she did not arrive on campus until about 12 hours before the Lobos began preseason meetings and training.
•The newcomers will make UNM stronger on the outside and provide much-needed depth defensively.
•It is the youngest squad head coach Jeff Nelson has coached in his 18-year career as a collegiate head coach.
•The Lobos were picked sixth in the Mountain West preseason coaches' poll.

SOMETHING ABOUT SOUTHERN (Baton Rouge, La. - Southwestern Athletic Conference)

•The Jaguars finished 12-21 (6-6 SWAC) in 2011.
•Southern returns seven players from last year's squad, five juniors and three sophomores.
•Junior MB/OH Payton Mitchell was second on the team in kills last season, averaging 1.51/set.
•Junior S Chanda Journet recorded 694 set assists last season.
•This is the first meeting between Southern and New Mexico.

DATA ON DUQUESNE (Pittsburgh, Pa. - Atlantic 10 Conference)
•The Dukes finished 19-13 (8-7 A10, 5th place) in 2011.
•Duquesne was picked to finish fifth in the 2012 A-10 preseason poll.
•Nine players return from last year's squad, including four starters.
•Senior OH Sara Scheirman led the team in kills last season, recording 363 (3.16/set) in 32 matches.
•Senior S Taylor Jones finished with 1,208 set assists last season.
•This is the first meeting between Duquesne and New Mexico.

The Lobos are led by sixth year head coach Jeff Nelson who enters the 2012 campaign with a 92-55 mark (334-201 overall).

•New Mexico will lean heavily on Chantale Riddle and her play at the net. The redshirt sophomore MB was No. 3 on the team in kills last season with 199 and runner-up in blocks recording 64 total. In the Lobos' annual alumni match on Aug. 18, Riddle led all players with 22 kills recording seven in the fifth set.

•Junior Miquella Lovato takes over as the Lobos' libero upon the graduation of two-time All-Mountain West Libero/2011 AVCA All-American/UNM all-time career digs leader Allison Buck. Lovato has been groomed under Buck, serving as a defensive specialist her first two seasons. In 2011, Lovato recorded 281 digs.

•It is possible that senior Jordan Russell and redshirt freshman Hannah Johnson will share setting duties for UNM this season. Russell is a two-time captain of the team and has been a strong leader for the young Lobo squad. Johnson has a redshirt year under her belt and gained valuable experience playing with and against professional and top-collegiate volleyball players while traveling to China with Bring It Promotions/USA Volleyball this summer.

The Lobos will be without freshmen Ashley Kelsey and Sara Stelzer. Kelsey sustained a knee injury in the first set of the alumni match. The severity of the injury is not yet known. Stelzer is out for roughly a month due to a flare up of a head injury sustained outside of volleyball.

New Mexico heads to Savannah, Ga., for the Tiger Invitational hosted by Savannah State, Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The Lobos will play UNC Asheville, Maryland Eastern Shore and Savannah State.