Lobos Host Northern Arizona Wednesday in Penultimate Non-Conference Match – University of New Mexico Lobos athletics official website news

Lobos Host Northern Arizona Wednesday in Penultimate Non-Conference Match – University of New Mexico Lobos athletics official website news

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.– For the first time since Aug. 27, The University of New Mexico volleyball team will be playing at home as the Lobos host Northern Arizona in a home-and-home series that starts on Wednesday.
The Lobos and Lumberjacks will play in Albuquerque on Wednesday, with first serve set for 6:30 p.m. MT at Johnson Gym, and again at NAU on Friday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. MT. Wednesday’s match will be streamed on the Mountain West Network and Friday’s match will be on ESPN+.
LOBO FIGHT
For the second week in a row, the Lobos have showed their fight in matches, battling to win two, five-set matches that included another reverse sweep. For the second time this season, UNM trailed 2-0 in a match after dropping the first two sets to Liberty on Saturday. However, much like was the case the week prior against UTEP, the Lobos found a way against the Flames.
In the third set, after LU pulled within one at 10-9, the Lobos went on a 5-0 run to create some separation, with Liberty using a run of its own to close back within two at 19-17. UNM answered right back with a Kali Wolf kill, which started the run of Lobo points on a Liberty attack error followed by an Uxue Guereca and Guereca and Avital Jaloba block to restore the six-point lead as UNM went on to win 25-20 to extend the match.
UNM trailed 14-9 in the fourth set, but the Lobos rallied behind a Lea Zurlinden kill, two Guereca service aces and a Wolf kill to get back within one, eventually tying the set at 17 to complete the comeback. There were ties at 18, 19, 20 and 21 before Liberty gained the advantage at 23-21, but the Lobos rallied to score the final four points of the set for the 25-23 win, sealed by a Wolf kill. In the fifth set, UNM used a 4-0 run to take a five-point lead at 10-5 and scored the final three points of the match to win 15-7.
The day prior against UC San Diego, the Lobos trailed 18-15 in the third set with the match tied 1-1 with the Lobos fighting back to tie the set at 21. UNM closed with a 4-1 run on a UCSD attack error, two Kaitlynn Biassou aces and a Wolf kill to win the set 25-22. In the fifth set, UCSD closed within one late in the set at 13-12, but Wolf stepped up with back-to-back kills to secure the Lobo 15-12 set win and the match.
UNM is 3-1 in five sets, with two wins coming in reverse sweeps.
SEEING DOUBLE
The Lobos have had multiple players record a double-double in a match five times this season. It happened two times over the weekend with Uxue Guereca and Kali Wolf against UCSD and Liberty. Guereca leads with six double-doubles and Wolf has three double-doubles on the season, the second most on the team. UNM is 5-1 when a player records a double-double and 4-1 when multiple players record a double-double.
FIRST HONOR GOES TO…
The University of New Mexico volleyball team earned its first Mountain West weekly conference honor of the season on Monday, and that accolade belongs to freshman middle blocker Lea Zurlinden, who was named MW Freshman of the Week.
Zurlinden started all three matches in the UC San Diego Tournament and played in all 13 sets, with the middle blocker finishing with 21 kills, 11.0 total blocks and 29.0 points in the tournament. Additionally, Zurlinden led the Lobos in hitting percentage at .390 (21-5-41). The Switzerland native had her best match as a Lobo in the win at UCSD with 10 kills, hitting. 467 and with five total blocks (one solo).
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?
The Lobos have held six of the eight opponents below a .200 hitting percentage this season, with one opponent (Portland State) below .100 (.089). On the season, UNM is holding opponents to a .160 hitting percentage. Last season, the Lobos held seven opponents below a .050 hitting percentage, and 19 below a .200 hitting percentage.
CLOSING TIME
New Mexico gets stronger as the match goes on, and is 7-1 in the third set, 5-1 in the fourth set and 3-1 in the fifth set this season. The Lobos are 2-0 in matches that go three sets, 2-0 in four sets and 3-1 in five sets.
CELEBRATE THE MILESTONES
Kaitlynn Biassou and Alena Moldan each reached career milestones in the final match of the 2021 season.
Moldan surpassed the 1,000-career dig milestone while Biassou surpassed the 1,000-career point milestone. Moldan currently sits at 1,167 career digs with Biassou at 1,153 points.
Biassou is on the verge of another milestone this season with 986 career kills (14 shy of 1000) and Moldan seventh all-time in career digs in program history and 34 away from sixth.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Northern Arizona is 1-4 on the season and hasn’t played since Sept. 3. Of the five matches, NAU lost to Utah Valley, California and Michigan in straight set, lost to Utah Tech in four and beat Old Dominion in three sets. Taylor Jacobsen leads the team with 77 kills (4.81 per set) and with 89.0 points (5.56 per set). Kate Hatch is the primary setter with 136 assists, an average of 8.50 per set. Millie O’Ketter is the biggest threat at the service line, the only player in double figures with 11 service aces.
On the defensive side of the stats, O’Ketter holds the team high in digs with 71 (4.44 per set) and Savannah Hasson leads in blocks at 16.0 (15 assisted). As a team, NAU is hitting .179 on the season while opponents are hitting .215. The Lumberjacks tied for fifth in the Big Sky Preseason Coaches Poll and return their two-time All-Big Sky First Team selection in Jacobsen as well as leaders in blocks (Jordan Elder) and digs (O’Ketter).
Last season, NAU and UNM split the season series, with each team winning in four on its own court.
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