BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Playing at the Blazer Beach Duals, the sizzling University of New Mexico beach volleyball team continued to roll during the second half of its season, extending its winning streak to seven straight matches on Saturday
as it captured a pair of wins over UT Martin and UAB.
Now winners of 11 of their last 13 matches, the Lobos (14-9) finished the two-day event undefeated, handily defeating the Skyhawks (0-10) before outdueling the host Blazers (10-16) at the West Campus Athletic Complex.
“It was a solid weekend,” New Mexico head coach Jeff Nelson said. “UAB is a very good team that like us has played a very difficult schedule. We had some different matchups today and had to rally to win.”
After posting a 3-7 record, the Lobos have all but turned their season around heading into the final stretch of the 2017 campaign.
New Mexico picked up four wins this weekend, knocking off Lincoln Memorial and UAB on Friday before winning two more on Saturday.
Their seven-game win streak is just one victory off of the program record, and was punctuated with Saturday‘s gritty, 3-2 win over UAB, where the Lobos played big in key moments.
Combined with their 5-0 sweep of UT Martin in the morning, New Mexico has guaranteed at least a winning record this season, with a chance to equal or surpass the team’s 17-9 record from 2016.
The Lobos are back in action next weekend as they play Arizona State and California on Friday in Tempe before returning to Albuquerque to host Air Force on Saturday.
New Mexico 5, UT Martin 0
After a late night on Friday, playing UAB until almost 8 p.m. MT, New Mexico faced an early-morning match to kick off Saturday‘s activities, taking on UT Martin at 9 a.m. MT.
But, a quick turnaround or not, the Lobos made quick work of the Skyhawks, registering the 5-0 sweep in dominant fashion.
The win was UNM’s ninth sweep of the season and the seventh for the team during its current run. During their previous two season, the Lobos had 10 combined sweeps.
New Mexico took a 1-0 lead on UT Martin before the match even started. Because the Skyhawks only traveled eight players, they forfeited the No. 5 court.
The Lobos then took little time to lock up the match, posting victories on the 3’s and 4’s courts to claim a 3-0 advantage.
On the No. 4 court, the tall team of Victoria Spragg & Carly Beddingfield (6-foot-5 and 6-foot-3, respectively), rose above their opponents en route to a 21-7, 21-9 victory over Kelly Lean & Sarah Shaw.
Marisa Doran & Eastyn Baleto added their own decisive win, capturing the No. 4 court 21-8, 21-13 over Macy Reigelsperger & Jemima Idemudia.
After the switch to the top two courts, the Lobos continued to dominate. Lise Rugland & Devanne Sours defeated the Skyhawks’ Rachel Noffsinger & Hayley Gray 21-13, 21-10
on the No. 2 court.
Cassie House & Ashley Kelsey completed the sweep, dispatching Macy Catlett & Hannah Phillips 21-7, 21-14 on the top-seeded court.
New Mexico 3, UAB 2
Shortly after claiming their sixth win a row, the Lobos continued to roll, clipping UAB 3-2 to push their winning streak to seven straight.
In a rematch of Friday night’s showdown, New Mexico managed to capture the upper hand, winning two courts in three sets to seal their undefeated weekend.
It’s the first time since defeating Sacramento State last April 8 that UNM won multiple points in three sets in a win, and it’s the team’s first 3-2 win of the season.
Julia Warren & Lauren Twitty scored first for the Lobos, earning their eighth straight win via a 21-19, 20-22, 15-8
win over Gabbi Moreno & Haley Jared in the No. 4 spot. A rematch from Friday
night, the Lobo tandem pulled away late for the win.
Warren & Twitty’s eight wins in a row is the second-longest streak in program history. They now own a 15-5 record on the season.
The pair with the program’s best-ever winning streak, Doran & Baleto, scored next for New Mexico in the dual, rallying for a 13-21, 21-10, 15-8
win over Avei Logoleo & Katarina Jovicic.
“I was really happy for Eastyn & Marisa, who recovered after a tough first game to win a tough matchup,” Nelson said.
Doran & Baleto now have 11 wins in their last 13 matches and own a 16-6 record on the season.
Sours & Rugland clinched the match for New Mexico, taking down Emily Martinez & Kenley Adams (who had won six straight) 21-14, 21-13
“Dev & Lise closed out with a great two-set win,” Nelson said. Dev sprained her ankle late in match but battled through to help give us the win.”
The Lobo tandem’s fourth consecutive win, they lead UNM with a 17-6 record on the season.
UAB tallied two points in the match, getting on the board first on the No. 5 court, where Spragg & Chloe Crappell fell 21-9 21-15 to Kalah Jones & Tressa Buckland.
The Lobos also dropped a three-set decision on the top-seeded court, where House & Kelsey were just edged 22-20, 13-21, 16-14
by Erika Zembyla & Avery Hoven in another rematch from Friday
It was just House & Kelsey’s second loss in their last 10 matches. They are currently 14-9 this season.