Frustrating? Believe it.
A brief series of points in the third set of Thursday night’s Lobos Love Pink match at Dreamstyle Arena left New Mexico feeling blue after a hard-fought MWC volleyball loss to Boise State.
The Broncos won by set scores of 21-25, 25-17, 27-25 and 25-22, but the third set effectively summed up the evening and, to some extent, UNM’s season to date.
After trailing 13-8, New Mexico rallied behind freshman Kaitlyn Biassou and senior Lauren Twitty to grab a 24-23 lead. The Lobos had a pair of set points and were in position to take a 2-1 lead in the match with plenty of momentum.
That’s when things went sideways.
A service error by Alena Moldan tied the score at 24, but one of Biassou’s team-best 14 kills gave the Lobos a 25-24 edge. Boise State pulled even on a Janell Walley kill before a UNM was called for touching the net while a ball rolled atop the net.
UNM coach Jon Newman-Gonchar challenged the call but the outcome left the Broncos with a 26-25 lead — and Newman-Gonchar shaking his head.
“The official told me I challenged the wrong thing,” he said after the match. “I challenged the net call but Boise State’s player had bumped the ball into the antenna and it would have been our point. That’s at 26-25 in the third set. Unbelievable.”
A Lobos serve-reception error on the ensuing serve gave Boise State (12-4, 4-1) the set, and the Broncos held off another late rally by the Lobos (5-12, 0-5) in set four to capture the match.
“Sets coming down to two plays, that’s the story of our season,” Newman-Gonchar said. “Those small plays are on us and we seem to keep learning that lesson over and over again.”
BSU, which had considerable height and depth advantages, got 22 kills from 6-foot-3 Lauren Ohlinger and 18 more from 6-2 Shae Duffy. The Lobos got 12 kills from Twitty and 10 Danica Rowan but could not quite overcome a handful of errors at critical times.
Fourteen players played for the Broncos, who finished with a .253 attack percentage. Eleven played for UNM, which hit .243.
“I’m proud of the battle,” Newman-Gonchar said. “There were some tears after this one and that’s OK because it should hurt. But at some point it’s going to click, those two small plays will start going our way and it’s going to be a different story.”