UNM Faces Tough Competition at the Oklahoma Invite

Sept. 12, 2012

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Lobo Volleyball - at the Oklahoma Invitational, Sept. 14-15 (Norman, Okla. - McCasland Field House

Friday, Sept. 14: Lobos vs. Arkansas-Little Rock, 4 p.m. MT
Saturday, Sept. 15: Lobos vs. SMU, 9 a.m. MT, Lobos at Oklahoma, 6 p.m. MT
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Weekly Notes - New Mexico at the Oklahoma Invitational Get Acrobat Reader

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Lobo volleyball team travels to Norman, Okla., for its fourth and final regular-season tournament, the Oklahoma Invitational, Sept. 14-15. New Mexico opens the tourney against Arkansas-Little Rock at 4 p.m. on Friday, and will have two matches on Saturday, a 9 a.m. contest with SMU and a 6 p.m. match against host Oklahoma.

New Mexico looks to win its fourth-straight tournament and build on it's nine-match winning streak. The 10-1 mark that UNM has accumulated is the best start the program has had since 1989.

Head coach Jeff Nelson is pleased with the way his Lobos are playing and is impressed with the way his young squad has responded in tough situations.

"It's a great start to the season," he said. "In all honesty, we're miles ahead of where I thought we would be. We start three freshmen and we have one senior that plays three rotations. I thought we would have had a much higher learning curve and probably have given up a couple of these close matches. We've had a few where we've come back, particularly having won three matches that have gone to five sets. This group is showing a lot of maturity."

The Lobos will face some solid teams while in Norman, particularly in their final match against the Sooners.

"I think it's going to be our biggest test of the season," Nelson said. "Oklahoma will be a really big road test for us. They're a great program, consistently finish towards the top of the Big 12 and regularly make postseason. It will be a big test for us going in to Mountain West conference play next week."

• New Mexico won its third-consecutive tournament and ninth-straight match with a 3-0 weekend in the Sheraton Airport/Comcast Lobo Invitational topping Georgia Southern, Portland and UCSB
•Head coach Jeff Nelson became the second coach in program history to record 100 Lobo victories with UNM's 3-2 win over GSU on Sept. 7. His overall record at UNM is 102-56 while his career record is 345-202.
•RS sophomore RS Chantale Riddle earned her second tournament MVP honors this weekend and leads UNM with 4.22 kills/set (.285 pct), 2.19 digs/set and 1.08 blks/set

On Arkansas-Little Rock, 4-5 (Little Rock, Ark. - Sun Belt Conference) -- All-time series: 0-1, Trojans
-The Trojans went 11-20 overall last year and were 6-10 in league play
-UALR returns nine letterwinners, four of which were starters from the 2011 squad
-The Trojans are 4-5 and are coming off a 2-1 weekend at the Saluki Invitational, defeating UT Martin (3-1) and Nicholls State (3-0) and dropping a match to Southern Illinois (0-3)
-Sophomore Edina Begic leads UALR with 5.31 kills/set and 3.39 digs/set
-Senior Eva Xie adds 2.75 kills/set
-Sophomore Marleen de Zoete handles setting duties, averaging 10.94 assists/set
-The last time the Lobos and Trojans met was at a tournament hosted by Baylor on Sept. 2, 2006 and UALR took the match, 3-0

On SMU, 2-7 (Dallas, Texas. - Conference USA) -- All-time series: 4-1, Lobos
-The Mustangs finished 15-17 overall in 2011 and 11-9 in league play
-SMU returns eight letterwinners, including three starters from last year's squad
-The Mustangs are coming off a 0-3 weekend in their home invitational, dropping matches to Wichita State (2-3), Texas State (0-3) and Auburn (0-3)
-Leading SMU is sophomore OH Caroline Young who averages 3.72 kills/set and 1.84 digs/set
-Sophomore OH Carla Armstrong adds 2.03 kills/set and 1.20 digs/set
-Senior S Olivia Bailey tallies 9.67 assists/set
-The last time the Lobos and the Mustangs met was Sept. 10, 2010 in the Comcast Lobo Challenge with UNM taking the match, 3-1

On Oklahoma, 8-3 (Norman, Okla. -- Big 12) -- All-time series: 1-2, Sooners
-The Sooners finished 21-12 in 2011 and 8-8 in the Big 12
-Oklahoma returns ten letterwinners, including three starters from last year's squad
-The Sooners are coming off a 2-1 weekend at the Ameritas Players Challenge in Lincoln, Neb.
-Oklahoma dropped a 3-0 decision to No. 1 Nebraksa before taking matches from No. 19 Kentucky (3-1) and Duquesne (3-0)
-Junior MB Sallie McLaurin leads OU with 2.61 kills/set, hitting with .366 accuracy while senior OH/OP Morand Reynolds adds 2.54 kills/set
-Freshman setter Julia Doyle averages 9.78 assists/set
-The last time the Lobos and the Sooners met was at a tournament hosted by OU on Sept. 16, 1989 with UNM taking the match 3-0

Nelson Reaches Milestone...
-With 3-2 win over Georgia Southern in the opening night of the Sheraton Airport/Comcast Lobo Invitational, head coach Jeff Nelson recorded his 100th Lobo victory
-He becomes just the second coach in UNM volleyball history to reach the 100-win makr, doing so in just over five seasons
-His overall mark at New Mexico is 102-56 while his overall record as a collegiate head coach is 345-202 (18 seasons)
-Laurel Brassey Iverson is New Mexico volleyball's winningest coach with a record of 290-210, built over 17 seasons (1983-86, 1988-2000)

Streak Alert...
-With an undefeated weekend, New Mexico extended its winning streak to nine matches, which ties for sixth-longest streak in program history
-The last time the Lobos won nine consecutive matches was in 1983, going undefeated from Sept. 3-17 that season
-The longest winning streak in UNM volleyball history is 16 matches, as the Lobos went undefeated Oct. 11-Dec. 6, 1991
-The 1991 Lobos went 12-0 in Western Athletic Conference play and made the program's fourth NCAA appearance, making it to the Regional semifinals before losing to eventual National Champions, UCLA, 1-3

And They're Off...
-At 10-1, the Lobos are off to the programs best start since 1989
-That season, UNM opened 12-1, dropping to 13-2 after its 15th match

3/3 in Tourneys...
-New Mexico has won all three of the tournaments it has participated in in 2012
-The Lobos won the Sheraton Airport/LA Boxing Lobo Classic (Aug. 24-25) with two wins over Southern (3-0, 3-0) and a split with Duquesne (2-3 and 3-1)
-UNM took the title of the Tiger Invitational hosted by Savannah State (Aug. 31-Sept. 1) with wins over UNC Asheville (3-0), Maryland-Eastern Shore (3-1), Kennesaw State (3-0) and Savannah State (3-0)
-New Mexico won the Sheraton Airport/Comcast Lobo Invitational (Sept. 7-8) with wins over Georgia Southern (3-2), Portland (3-0) and UC Santa Barbara (3-2)

Best of the Tourney...
-RS sophomore Chantale Riddle earned her second tournament MVP award of the season for her performance in the Shearton Airport/Comcast Lobo Invitational
-The right-side hitter played in all 13 of the UNM's sets, and led the Lobos on offense and defense, averaging 3.92 kills (.190 accuracy (51k-24e-142ta))., 1.31 blocks per set (17 total) and 2.15 digs each set (28 total)
-Riddle averaged 4.58 points per set, finishing the weekend with 59.5 total
-Joining Riddle on the all-tournament team were sophomore middle blocker Elsa Krieg and junior outside hitter Ashley Newman
-Krieg hit .267 on the weekend, recording 23 kills on 60 attempts while committing just seven errors, while adding16 total blocks and five ace serves
-Newman recorded 23 kills over the weekend (.196 accuracy), tallying two service aces and six digs while adding two blocks

Down the road...
-New Mexico opens Mountain West play at home, hosting Colorado State at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20 and Wyoming on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.

Individual Leaders in the Mountain West...
-Chantale Riddle and Elsa Krieg are leading the Mountain West and are ranked nationally in a few statistical categories
-Riddle leads the league in kills (4.22/set) and points (181 tot, 4.89/set)
-She ranks 37th and 30th nationwide in those categories
-Krieg tops the MW in service aces (19 tot, .53/set) and in hitting percentage with a .399 (72k-13e-148ta)
-She ranks 25th and 36th in the nation in those categories
-Jordan Russell and Riddle have four double-doubles apiece, which puts them fourth in the MW in that category

Feel that freshmen impact...
-A few of New Mexico's freshmen are seeing plenty of court time and are making an impact for the Lobos
-Redshirt freshman Hannah Johnson has played in every set and is averaging 5.85 assists/game
-Johnson also has 16 kills, two ace serves, 21 digs and 23 blocks
-True freshman Alijah Gunsaulus has played in 39 of the Lobos' 41 sets, averaging 1.28 kills/set
-Gunsaulus also averages 2.28 digs/set and has recorded five ace serves and ten blocks

Ace, Ace Baby...
-The Lobos lead the Mountain West and are No. 9 nationwide in ace serves having recorded 74 on the season (1.80/set)
-Three players have double-digits in aces: Elsa Krieg leads UNM and the MW and ranks 25th nationally with 19, Lexi Ross has recorded 15 and Jordan Russell has 11

Double Up...
-Chantale Riddle and Jordan Russell each have four double-doubles apiece and are tied for fourth in the MW in the category