Stevens: Lobos Shows A Lot of Good Stuff in 3-0 Stuffing of Boise State
New Mexico to host Air Force at 5 p.m., Saturday in 'Think Pink' game
Oct. 27, 2011
New Mexico Lobos Volleyball - In Johnson Center
Thursday: Lobos 3, Boise State 0 (25-20, 25-13, 26-24)
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It was a match the Lobos needed because the 3-0 win over Boise State Thursday night produced a little bit of a lot of good stuff for the Lobos.
There was a come-from-behind rally in Game One. There was a total spanking in Game Two that revealed some Lobo nasty along with some killer instinct.
There was a refuse-to-lose attitude in Game Three when Boise State came out of the break down two games to none and determined to turn the match around. The Lobos almost let them.
Boise State went up 21-16 and 24-22, before the Lobos showed some guts by pulling out the 26-24 match-clincher in front of 1,673 in Johnson Center.
"I told the girls -- it's kind of a bad phrase -- but, `stick the knife in and give it a twist,'" said Nelson of the attitude to carry into Game Three. "Instead, we kind of come out and see what they're going to do."
What Boise was going to try and do was steal the momentum and the match away. They almost did it and maybe they should have done it carrying a five-point lead into the 20s and up by two match points. Again, the Lobos refused to lose.
"It was a big win," said Kelly Williamson. "A conference match is always important. Everyone on our team is just more fired up lately. The locker room is very exciting. We came out wanting to rip them."
Said Nelson: "Nobody goes away. You have to play it all the way to the end." Nelson was referring to Boise's energy in Game Three, but that phrase also applied to his Lobos, who didn't go away down 21-16. The Lobos were the team that played it to the end.
The win produced the 25-20, 25-13, 26-24 Mountain West win and raised UNM's record to 12-10 overall and 4-6 in MW play. UNM will play host to Air Force at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Lobos carry a two-game win streak into that contest. That roll was preceded by a four-game skid.
"We had a rough go with our four-game losing streak, but that also might have brought us together," said Williamson. "We found ways to put the pieces back together."
Williamson had another big match for UNM pacing the team with 15 kills. Ashley Rhoades added 11 kills. Mariah Agre had 36 assists and Chantale Riddle had a career-high 15 digs. Allison Buck added 11 digs. UNM hit a .221 percentage and Boise State hit .126. The Lobos totaled 49 digs to 36 for Boise State.
"I think Kelly is more relaxed," said Nelson. " She has found a happier place. I think she is starting to realize that her career is almost over and she has quit playing out of fear and is just playing."
For sure, there was a lot of Williamson's presence in this match. The Lobos will need that senior - and all seniors - down the stretch especially in the fast-approaching Mountain West Tournament to be played on Lobo turf in Johnson Center.
"You need to have confidence November 18 when the conference (tournament) begins," said Nelson. "I think it's literally anybody's. We are in a good place right now. We have found a lineup that works and we are getting better."
Game One: Lobos 25, Broncos 20
The Broncos made a huge mistake in the first game. You don't make errors when the opposing team gets its score into the 20s. The Broncos made a handful. UNM pulled out of a tight 20-19 score getting back-to-back double touches by Broncos to produce a 22-19 UNM edge. UNM then got a big service ace by Miquella Lovato off a Bronco error on the dig. UNM was up 24-20 and the Broncos called a timeout. UNM ended it on a running spike by Rhoades, who pounded the ball into a futile Bronco block.
Boise State had taken command of the first game by pulling into leads of 12-8 and 15-10, off a bad link between Agre and Rhoades. Then the Lobos got on a roll. An Agre ace produced a 16-16 tie. UNM took an 18-17 lead on a block by Lexi Ross. UNM went up 19-17 on a Boise error and it was the Broncos turn to call a timeout. Boise State could get no closer than that 20-19 hole.
"We didn't hit our game plan right away in Game One," said Nelson. "It took us a while. Once we started nailing our (serving) spots, we started nailing points."
The Broncos had a mild hitting edge in the game with 12 kills and a .143 hitting percentage. UNM had 11 kills and a .133 hitting percentage. Both teams had seven errors at the net and Boise State had 10 digs to 14 for UNM. The big edge on the stat sheet was two service errors by Boise and three ball-handling errors. UNM had zeros in those two stat groups.
Game Two: Lobos 25, Boise State 13
This game was a rout. The Lobos came out with the killer instinct and took command of the game early. A solo block by Agre produced an 11-2 UNM lead and a huge cheer from the crowd. A savage Williamson spike made it 12-4. The score rolled into a 10-point UNM lead at 18-8 off a Jayla Trombley spike. UNM held that margin at 20-10 and coasted in for the easy 25-13 win. Ross ended it with an unassisted spike off a bad Bronco pass.
Williamson went into the break with nine spikes and Rhoades had seven. UNM had 27 digs to 22 for Boise. Agre had 20 assists. Riddle had eight digs and Bucks had six. UNM hit .333 in the second game while Boise faded to .038.
Game Three: Lobos 26, Boise State 24
The Broncos and the Lobos both came out with good energy and produced an early cat-and-mouse game. UNM was in control of the scoreboard until the Broncos jumped up 9-8 and 10-9. Boise State pulled into an 11-9 lead and Coach Nelson called for time.
The Broncos stayed up, 13-10, before Rhoades threw down a running spike to make it 13-11. Spikes by Williamson and Ross pulled UNM into 14-12 and 15-13 holes. But Boise continued to pull away and had a solid 21-16 lead going down the wire.
The Lobos rallied, pulled the scored to 22-20 and Boise called a timeout. A Williamson block made it 22-21 and a Williamson spike made it 23-22 in favor of the visitors from Idaho. A Rhoades service error handed Boise State the game-point edge at 24-22. Williamson hammered one down to make it 24-23 and Boise called time looking at a UNM serve.
Agre almost tied it with an ace, but her hot serve forced Boise State to push the ball back onto the UNM side. Williamson tied it with a spike and Boise hit long on the next play to push UNM up, 25-24. The Lobos won it on a Boise spike that floated long.
"I think in Game Three Boise played with more energy and we played the wait-and-see game," said Nelson. "Boise is a good team. They just beat Wyoming 3-0."
Note: Lobo fans can bring a ticket stub from Saturday's football game vs. Air Force and get into the 5 p.m., Saturday volleyball game vs. Air Force for $2.