Lobos Close Out Non-Conference with Five-Set Win
LINCOLN, Neb.— After the Central Michigan Chippewas seemed to have all of the momentum after forcing a fifth set with a rally, the New Mexico Lobos created momentum of their own to close out the Husker Invite with a 25-21, 17-25, 25-12, 17-25, 15-7 five-set victory.
Lauren Twitty had a match-high 17 kills, while Mariessa Carrasco had a match-and career-high 13 assisted blocks. Sabrina Bianco and Jaclyn Inclan each had 18 assists and Inclan and Morgan Schreckler each had 11 digs for team highs. Schreckler also had two service aces to lead the team, with the Lobos having seven total.
In the opening set, the Lobos fell behind early 4-2, but a couple of errors by the Chippewas kept the set close and allowed UNM to tie the set at six. After a tie at seven, Beddingfield and Carrasco combined for a block to give New Mexico its first lead of the set. Tai Bierria had two kills in the early stages of the set as the Lobos were able to build a 12-9 lead. A 3-0 run by the Chippewas tied the set at 12, however, the Lobos answered with a 4-0 run to create a four-point advantage, led by a kill by Spragg and Twitty and an assisted block between Spragg and Twitty. After Central Michigan tied the set at 12, New Mexico scored eight of the next 10 points to create a six-point margin of 20-14. The Chippewas closed the gap to two at 21-19 and again at 23-21, but the Lobos scored the final two points on a Bierria kill and CMU attack error to take the opening set by the score of 25-21. Beddingfield, Twitty and Bierria each had three kills, while Bianco and Inclan had four assists apiece and Twitty and Carrasco recorded two assisted blocks to lead the Lobos. Carrasco had the lone service ace of the set between both teams.
Set two started in similar fashion with the Lobos trailing 4-2, but a Beddingfield and Twitty kill kept the set within one. Spragg and Bierria combined for the block to tie the set at five, and an ace by Schreckler gave the Lobos their first lead of the set at 7-6. There were exchanges of points to create ties at seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 and 12 before CMU was able to break the trend with four-straight points to build a 16-12 lead. Kills by Spragg and Carrasco cut the deficit in half, but four-straight points by Central Michigan put New Mexico in a six-point deficit at 20-14. The Lobos were unable to recover with a run of their own, falling 25-17. Beddingfield had three kills to lead UNM with Inclan adding four more assists and Twitty and Inclan each having three digs. Carrasco led with three assisted blocks and Schreckler had the only ace for the Lobos.
In the third set, the Lobos were the one to gain the early edge, scoring the first two points on a service error and a Twitty kill. The lead would expand four at 6-2 on an attack error by CMU and Twitty ace, and then to five at 10-5 on an attack error by CMU. Central Michigan answered with the next three points to cut into the lead at 10-8, but New Mexico went on to score the next three points to push the lead back to five at 13-8. An Inclan ace and then a Twitty kill made it a six-point set at 15-9 and 16-10, respectively, and after a Chippewa kill, a 4-0 run allowed the lead to stretch to nine at 20-11. From that point on, the Lobos closed the set on a 5-1 run to take the set, 25-12, outscoring CMU 15-4 after CMU cut it to two at 10-8, the closest margin since it was 4-2 in favor of UNM. The Lobos outhit the Chippewas .350 to .000 in the set.
A late rally by Central Michigan cost New Mexico the lead in the fourth set, ultimately leading to a fifth set. The fourth set was spurred early on by blocks by the Lobos, as Spragg contributed with two assisted blocks (with Beddingfield and Yasmin Tan) and a block by Carrasco and Beddingfield, which allowed UNM to get ahead 5-3. The Lobos were up 7-4 when the Chippewas rallied for three-straight points to tie the set at seven. A net violation provided the Lobos the go-ahead point at 8-7, but the Chippewas were able to tie the set back up at eight. There would be a final tie at nine before the Lobos recorded the next four points on a Carrasco and Clark block and two consecutive Twitty kills to build a 13-9 lead. Two-straight points cut the margin in half, however, an attack error and Beddingfield kill got the points right back for UNM. The lead would grow to five at 16-11 on a 3-0 run by UNM, to which CMU would get a 3-0 run of its own to negate it. The Chippewas tied the set at 17 with their third 3-0 run of the set, and took the lead on the following point. CMU closed the set on an 11-0 run from the point that UNM led 17-14 to take the set by the score of 25-17. Twitty had four kills in the set, Bianco had six assists and Inclan and Makayla Tam each had five digs. Spragg and Beddingfield had three assisted blocks in the fourth frame, with the Lobos having five total team blocks (all assisted).
In the decisive set, the Lobos started off with an ace from Clark followed by a kill from Twitty and a Beddingfield and Carrasco block for the first three points of the set. Twitty had three early kills to help the Lobos build a 5-1 lead. Out of a Chippewas timeout, CMU scored the next four points to tie the set at five, but a service error by CMU restored the lead for UNM. Tan’s kill pushed the lead to two at 7-5, and the lead would proceed to fluctuate between one and two for the Lobos. A block by Carrasco and Tan led to an 11-7 advantage and a CMU timeout. The duo of Carrasco and Tan would go on to have two more blocks and Carrasco and Clark would make it four blocks in-a-row for UNM to get set and match point at 14-7. Clark put the finishing touches on the set and the match with a kill to give the Lobos a 15-7 set win and 3-2 match win. From the point that CMU made it a one-point game at 8-7, UNM finished the set, and the match, with a 7-0 run.
Carrasco was named to the Husker Invite All-Tournament Team as a result of her performance throughout the three matches, leading the Lobos with 16 blocks (one solo and 15 assisted), and contributing 14 kills and two service aces, finishing the weekend with 24.5 points.