New Mexico Opens MW Play at Home with Colorado State and Wyoming

Sept. 18, 2012

Lobo Volleyball - hosting Colorado State (Sept. 20) and Wyoming (Sept. 22) -- Johnson Center

Thursday: Lobos vs. Colorado State (7-4, 0-0 MW), 7 p.m.; Jam Johnson Night -- all tickets $3
Saturday: Lobos vs. Wyoming (11-3, 0-0 MW), 7 p.m. -- Family Night/High School Team Night
Live Streaming: GameTracker, box scores/stats and game recaps

Weekly Notes - New Mexico Hosts Colorado State and Wyoming Get Acrobat Reader

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Lobo volleyball team opens Mountain West play at home against conference preseason favorite, Colorado State, on Thursday and will also host MW preseason No. 3 Wyoming at on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. MT and will be held in the Johnson Center.

The Lobos went 2-1 last weekend to finish second at the Oklahoma Invitational. New Mexico topped Arkansas-Little Rock, 3-2, (18-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-17, 15-12) and swept SMU (25-14, 25-21, 25-22) before being swept for the first time this season by Oklahoma (17-25, 9-25, 19-25). The Sooners snapped an 11-match winning streak, which ranks third in UNM volleyball history for consecutive wins.

Sophomore Chantale Riddle and Miquella Lovato were named to last weekend's all-tournament team. Riddle recorded double-doubles against UALR and SMU. The Lobos' right-side hitter leads the conference in kills (4.33/set) and points (238.5 tot., 4.97/set). Lovato had a career-high 27 digs against UALR and recorded 50 digs over the weekend. The junior is fifth in the MW for digs, averaging 4.08 per set.

"We gutted out two wins last weekend, which was a success, I think," head coach Jeff Nelson said. "We started out well against Oklahoma and then the wheels came off and we saw the frustrations come out in light of the injuries our team has dealt with the last few weeks. We've got some regrouping still to do this week to get some new players into the lineup and get them accustomed to being a regular player and having expectations."

The Lobos open MW play with two of the top teams in the league.

"This will be a tough week for us," Nelson said of the upcoming matches. "It's important that we step up and show good character in handling these things, moving forward and becoming a better team. I'm thrilled with where we are at, but we still have a lot of work to do to maintain and move forward."

The Rams carry a 7-4 record in to the conference season, with three of their four losses coming against nationally-ranked teams. Most recently CSU dropped a 2-3 (20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-13, 10-15) decision to last week's No. 2 UCLA in Fort Collins. Colorado State was ranked No. 25 nationally in the preseason poll and moved to 24th the first week of the poll before dropping out of the rankings. The Rams are receiving votes this week.

"CSU is a great team that is senior dominant and led by Megan Plourde who really sets the tone for them at the net with hitting and blocking," Nelson said. "Dana Cranston, another senior, also does a great job and this match will be a great test for us. I'm excited to face them and I think playing Oklahoma was a wake-up call to our younger players on how we have to step up now."

Nine letterwinners return from last year's squad, including a quartet of seniors and the Rams' starting setter, Deedra Foss. CSU is laden with seniors and is led by preseason All-MW Dana Cranston (3.24 kills, .208 pct., 0.71 blocks), a 2011 All-American and preseason All-MW Megan Plourde (2.76 kills, .320 pct., 1.62 bocks) and 2011 MW Newcomer of the Year, Foss (10.24 a, .81 kills, 2.24 digs, .93 blocks).

CSU and New Mexico have a common opponent in Oklahoma, whom the Rams took a match from, 3-1, on Sept. 2.

Wyoming is also led by veterans -- two-time All-MW and preseason All-MW Jodi Purdy (3.06 kills, .245 pct., 2.42 digs, .73 blocks), junior Calli Miller (2.08 kills, .207 pct.), junior Reese Plante (1.94 kills, .399 pct., 1.19 blocks) and junior setter Rachel Keyes (5.72 a, 1.66 digs).

The Cowgirls are 11-3 in preconference play and are coming off a 2-1 weekend at the Ball State Tournament, sweeping Wright State and Pittsburgh before falling to Ball State, 3-1, on Saturday.

Wyoming beat UNM three times last season -- twice during the regular-season and again in the opening round of the Mountain West Volleyball Championships hosted by New Mexico.

Both of this week's matches start at 7 p.m.

Thursday night is Jam Johnson Night and all tickets are just $3. Saturday's match is Family Night and High School Team Night.

Quick notes on Colorado State (7-4, 0-0 MW) -- Fort Collins, Colo.

All-time series: 44-22, Rams H: 12-17 A: 8-23 N: 2-4
Rams-Lobos last season: Colorado State got the season sweep over New Mexico last year, defeating the Lobos, 3-0 (20-25, 23-25, 14-25), in Fort Collins on Oct. 13 and again in five sets (25-19, 14-25, 19-25, 25-22, 11-15) in Albuquerque on Nov. 12
2011: 24-6 overall, 12-2 MW (1st)
Preseason: First in MW, No. 25 nationally
Returners:Nine letterwinners, including a quartet of seniors and starting setter, Deedra Foss
Last time out:L, 2-3 (20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-13, 10-15), to then-No. 2 UCLA on Sept. 15 in Fort Collins. Colo.
Common opponents in 2012:The Rams defeated Oklahoma, 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 25-16), on Sept. 2 while UNM was swept by Oklahoma on Sept. 15
Leaders:Preseason All-MW senior OH Dana Cranston (3.24 kills, .208 pct., .71 blocks)
Preseason All-MW senior MB Megan Plourde (2.76 kills, .320 pct., 1.62 blocks)
2011 MW Newcomer of the Year, RS sophomore S Deedra Foss (10.24 a, .81 kills, 2.24 digs, .93 blocks)
Misc. notes:Three of CSU's four losses have been to nationally-ranked teams
Aug. 31 2-3, No. 14 Tennessee
Sept. 7 0-3, No. 12 Pepperdine
Sept. 15 2-3, No. 2 UCLA
The Lobos have beaten CSU once since Jeff Nelson's arrival in 2007, a 3-0 decision on Nov. 11, 2010

Quick notes on Wyoming (11-3, 0-0 MW) -- Laramie, Wyo.

All-time series:30-37, Cowgirls H: 16-16 A: 11-19 N: 3-2
Cowgirls-Lobos last season:The Cowgirls defeated the Lobos three times last year, sweeping UNM in Laramie (20-25, 18-25, 21-25) on Oct. 15, outlasting the Lobos at home, 2-3 (25-23, 20-25, 22-25, 25-20, 13-15), on Nov. 10, and taking the first match of the MW Volleyball Championships, 1-3 (23-25, 25-27, 25-20, 21-25) on Nov. 18
2011: 21-11 last year and 9-5 in MW play
Preseason:Third in MW
Returners:Nine letterwinners return from the 2011 squad, including all six starters and the libero
Last time out: Wyoming is coming off a 2-1 weekend at the Ball State Tournament, sweeping Wright State and Pittsburgh before falling to Ball State, 3-1, on Saturday
Common opponents in 2012:None
Leaders:Preseason All-MW, senior OH Jodi Purdy (3.06 kills, .245 pct., .35sa, 2.42 digs, .73 blocks)
Junior OH Calli Miller (2.08 kills, .207 pct.)
Junior MB Reese Plante (1.94 kills, .399 pct., 1.19 blocks)
Junior S/L Rachel Keyes (5.72 a, 1.66 digs)
Misc. Notes:The last time the Lobos beat Wyoming was Nov. 13, 2010 in Laramie, 3-0

Streak Snapped...
-The Lobos opened the Oklahoma Invitational with wins over UALR and SMU to extend their winning streak to 11 matches before the Sooners swept UNM in the final match of the weekend and halted the streak
-Eleven matches ranks third in program history for longest winning streak
-The longest 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

3/4 in Tourneys...
-New Mexico won three of the four pre-conference tournaments it 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)
-The Lobos finished second in the Oklahoma Invitational (Sept. 14-15) with a 2-1 record

Best of the Tourney...

-RS sophomore Chantale Riddle earned her third all-tournament honor of the 2012 season at the Oklahoma Invitational
-The right-side hitter had an exceptional weekend offensively and defensively as she averaged 4.73 kills, 2.82 digs, 0.91 blocks and 5.23 points while hitting .254 (52k-18e-134ta)
-Riddle also recorded back-to-back double-doubles (her fifth and sixth of the season) against UALR and SMU
-Joining Riddle on the all-tournament team was junior libero Miquella Lovato
-Lovato had 50 digs on the weekend (4.55/s), including a carerr-high 27 against UALR on Sept. 14

Early bumps...
-Sophomore Elsa Krieg is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. The Lobos' middle blocker was off to an excellent start on the season, leading the MW in hitting percentage with a .399 and service aces (19 tot., .53/set). Krieg sustained the injury in practice on Sept. 11.
-The Lobos are also without freshman Ashley Kelsey who will redshirt the season due to a knee injury sustained in the first set of the Lobo Alumni Match on Aug. 18
-Freshman Sara Stelzer is also missing from UNM's lineup as she is out for roughly another month due to a flare up of a head injury that happened outside of volleyball this summer

Down the road...
-New Mexico hits the road for three matches the week of Sept. 24
-The Lobos play at CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. MT, face MW newcomer Fresno State at 8 p.m. MT on Thursday, Sept. 27 and close out the trip with an 8 p.m. MT match at UNLV