ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Aggies Beaten By The No. 12 Waves
One marathon in two days is enough.
The University of New Mexico volleyball team finally gave its fans a little free time Saturday, sweeping past Portland in the Sheraton Airport/Comcast Lobo Invitational at Johnson Center. The set scores were 25-23, 25-18, 27-25.
Later Saturday, UNM went the distance again, improving to 10-1 overall with a 3-2 (25-16, 25-21, 22-25, 18-25, 15-9) win over UC Santa Barbara. It is the third tournament title for the Lobos in the preseason.
The 10-1 start is the best since 1989.
Sophomore Chantale Riddle led UNM with a double-double, 19 kills and 11 digs. Riddle also had a career-high eight blocks. Sophomore Elsa Krieg had eight kills and seven blocks while junior Ashley Newman added 12 kills and four digs.
All three were named to the all-tournament team with Riddle earning MVP honors.
So the earlier win over Portland represented a notable shift in the tournament’s pattern. Each of the first three matches, including UNM’s Friday night win over Georgia Southern and the Lobos’ finale, went five sets.
“Yeah, after that marathon we wanted to get out and get after it,” Lobos coach Jeff Nelson said. “Except for a lapse at the end, I thought it was a good performance.”
The lapse in question was a 7-0 run by Portland that threatened to force a fourth set. The Lobos committed several errors as the Pilots (5-4) turned a 23-17 deficit into a 24-23 lead.
But Newman stemmed the tide with a kill. She later added another before teammates Lexi Ross and Riddle ended the match with a block of Portland’s Ariel Usher.
UNM showed a knack for finishing throughout the match, scoring the final three points of Set 1 and the final four of Set 2.
Riddle finished with a team-high 12 kills, Newman added nine, and Lena Skipper converted seven for the Lobos.
No. 12 PEPPERDINE 3, NMSU 1: The Aggies dominated the first set, but couldn’t sustain the momentum and lost three tough sets as the Waves prevailed 16-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23 at the Rams Classic in Fort Collins, Colo.
Sophomore Meredith Hays marked a match-high 22 kills for NMSU, which had a better hitting percentage (.262-.250). But the Waves (5-2) played a cleaner match.
“Overall a few of our players played well, and I liked a lot of what we did,” head coach Mike Jordan said. “Pepperdine did a good job of slowing us down, but I think it was a pretty even match, and we can take away a lot of positives from this.”
NMSU (6-2) wraps up the tourney today at noon against host Colorado State.