After starting the season with eight straight wins, the University of New Mexico volleyball team fell short of perfection Saturday.
UC San Diego started fast, won the key points and handed the host team a 3-0 defeat in the finale of the Lobo Classic at the Pit. The set scores were 25-21, 25-23 and 25-22. (Click here for statistics.)
UNM, which outlasted Seattle in four competitive sets Friday night, struggled with uncharacteristic errors Saturday and UCSD capitalized.
“(The Tritons) put us on our heels with tough serving and we ended up hitting push shots and roll shots while they were swinging away,” UNM coach John Newman-Gonchar said. “We were in every set but too many serve and attack errors cost us. It’s back to the drawing board to correct some things.”
Kaitlynn Biassou and Avital Jaloba had 11 kills apiece for UNM, but 6-foot-4 middle blocker Emily McDaniel was the difference-maker for the Tritons (2-7). She posted a .381 hitting percentage and seemed able to slide behind setter Isabela Dobra for a kill whenever her team most needed one.
“We tried to change things up to block her but nothing worked,” Newman-Gonchar said. “It’s a frustrating feeling when you know where they’re going with the ball and still can’t stop it.”
UCSD also outserved the Lobos, racking up eight aces to UNM’s one. The total included back-to-back aces to give UCSD a 24-21 lead in the clinching third set.
Setter Melissa Walden had 33 assists and 13 digs for the Lobos, who visit Northern Arizona on Thursday for a 7 p.m. match.