Nov. 26, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - In a battle for second place in the MW, the Fresno State volleyball team (17-14, 11-8) pushed New Mexico (23-7, 13-6) to five sets for the second straight match.
The Lobos claimed the first and third sets, 25-19 and 25-23, but the `Dogs answered with 25-20 and 25-14 advantages in the second and fourth sets to even the match. UNM, however, took the final set by a 15-12 margin to end a Bulldog three-match series win streak the past two years.
Team-wise, the Bulldogs ended with match advantages in kills (61-51), hitting (.208-.153), assists (58-51), digs (57-49), aces (7-3) and blocks (13-9), while UNM committed fewer service errors (6-14).
"It's a frustrating loss since we were statistically better than them in nearly every category," Fresno State head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. "It came down to our serving and passing in the fifth set, and we fell behind too much early. We battled a good team, and I was glad we showed more confidence tonight compared to last weekend. I thought we finally started to block better and that was a product of the seniors stepping up and getting the job done. We've got one more match left and look to finish the season on a high note."
Senior outside hitter Korrin Wild led the team in kills (20) and points (22.5) for the 15th time in each category this year. The All-MW pick was one of three Bulldogs with double-digit kill figures with senior outside hitter Marissa Brand (14) and senior right side hitter Holly Franks (12, .267).
Brand also led the team in digs (15) for the third time this season en route to her eighth double-double of the year and 36th career-wise.
Franks added six blocks to pace the squad for the eighth time this year, while Wild and junior outside hitter Jaimee-Lee Morrow tied for the team high in aces (2).
Among other notable stats, redshirt sophomore middle blocker Molly Pearson posted five blocks, and senior middle blocker Lauren Albertson added seven kills and a .385 hitting mark - her second team-best of the campaign.
"Korrin really stepped up and got her swag back," Netherby-Sewell said, "and it was fun to watch her play. Marissa dug really well, and Holly played a smart and aggressive match. Lauren was unstoppable early, and is coming around for us. Our seniors deserve better than this in their final matches, but we have some youth in key positions, and that can be detrimental to a team's success."
For the Lobos, the current MW leader in kills - Chantale Riddle - led the column (18) and was joined in double digits by Lexi Ross (12, .632).
Other UNM category leaders included Hannah Johnson (43 assists), Miquella Lovato (17 digs,) and Skye Gullatt (5 blocks).
In the first set, UNM held a 13-12 lead then went on a 6-2 run to go up 19-14 on one of Riddle's six kills in the set. Fresno State tightened it to 19-17, but the Lobos ended the period with a 5-1 run for a 25-19 decision.
In the second set, the Dogs never trailed, and led by a high of three points at 7-4, 15-12 and 22-19. The `Dogs then ended the set with its fourth block of the period from Franks, and a Riddle attack error in the 25-20 win.
In the third set, there were 15 ties through 16-16 when New Mexico went on 4-1 spurt on three kills and a block. Fresno State soon retied it, 20-20, after three straight points on a service error and pair of Wild kills. UNM responded with a pair of two-point run to go up 22-20 and 24-21, then survived an attack error and block by Lee to pull out the stanza, 25-23.
In the fourth set, the `Dogs jumped out to a 5-0 lead behind Korrin Wild's serving, and Franks later made it 9-2 on an ace. A pair of Fresno State blocks gave it a 13-6 lead and were part of an eight-point run that ended at 19-7. The `Dogs then used a pair of late kills by Murdock to end the period with a 25-14 advantage.
In the fifth set, UNM jumped out to a 5-2 lead, and another 6-1 run pushed its lead to 11-5. Fresno State sided out through 14-9 when it scored three straight points, but a Lobo block ended the match, 15-12.
Tuesday's outcome reversed the team's result from October when Fresno State won in five sets (25-20, 19-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-6). The Bulldogs also won both of last year's meetings (3-1 in Fresno and 3-2 in Albuquerque).
Looking ahead, the `Dogs wrap up the regular season on Tuesday, November 27 at Air Force (6-22, 3-13) at 5 p.m. PT.
CATCH THE WAVE - Follow the 'Dogs on Twitter at @FresnoStateVB.
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