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Lobos Edge Out Wolf Pack in Five

For the seventh time this season the University of New Mexico volleyball team needed five sets to determine the outcome, but behind a double-double from Lauren Twitty, the Lobos edged out the Nevada Wolf Pack.

The Lobos move to 10-7 overall and 4-1 in the Mountain West with the 25-14, 13-25, 25-17, 21-25, 15-4 victory.

In the 12-match series against Nevada, this marked the first time that a match between the two teams had gone to five sets.

Twitty registered 19 kills and 11 digs to record her seventh double-double of the season. Jaclyn Inclan had team highs in assists and service aces, with 25 and two, respectively. Victoria Spragg had another influential night at the net, tallying two solo blocks and three assisted blocks to go with two digs and six kills. It is the third straight match that Spragg has been credited with two solo blocks. Mercedes Pacheco joined Twitty in double digits in digs, leading the Lobos with 16 on the night.

UNM was dominant in the first set, starting off with control early and extended it throughout the set. The Lobos got out to an early 7-4 lead behind three kills from Twitty and two each from Tai Bierria and Carly Beddingfield. New Mexico had a 5-0 run in the middle of the set to stretch its lead from 13-8 to 17-8 with a block from Spragg and Nicolette Clark, a kill by Beddingfield and three errors by Nevada. UNM pushed the lead to 12 at 21-9 behind another 5-0 run, with three more of the points coming on errors by Nevada. UNM closed with the final four points to win the opening set 25-14 with four kills apiece from Beddingfield and Twitty. Beddingfield was a perfect 4-for-4 in the set,who also added an assisted block. Sabrina Bianco led the team with nine of her 25 total assists in the set and Inclan contributed on the other seven. Twitty had the only service ace in the frame for New Mexico. UNM hit .500 in the set, compared to Nevada’s .061.

In the second set, the Lobos couldn’t keep up with the Wolf Pack, dropping the set 25-13. The visitors gained the early lead, leading by as much as six at 12-6. UNM scored three of the next four points to cut the deficit to four at 13-9, but after an exchange of points made it 15-11 Nevada, the Wolf Pack strung together six points in-a-row to pull away 21-11. The Lobos scored two final points on a Bierria kill and a Nevada service error, but the Wolf Pack finished the set with the final four points to take the set and even the match at one set apiece. Twitty and Bierria had three kills in the setback with Inclan adding four more assists. Mariessa Carrasco recorded the only service ace in the set for UNM.

Although there were four ties in the set, there were no lead changes as New Mexico took the third set. The Lobos held an early 6-2 advantage in the third set  after scoring the first three points.  The Wolf Pack climbed back to tie the frame at seven using a 5-1 run, followed by another tie at eight, but followed each of those ties with a service error to give the Lobos back the lead. There were ties at nine and 11, with each time the Lobos scoring the next point to regain the lead. At the media timeout, UNM held a 15-13 margin. From there, New Mexico closed on a 10-4 run, including a 4-0 run that turned a one-point margin at 16-15 to a four-point cushion of 19-15 and another 4-0 run that spanned the final four points of the set, allowing the Lobos to take the 25-17 set win and the 2-1 lead in the match. Beddingfield had six kills in the frame, hitting .750, while Bianco had seven assists and four digs for team highs in the categories. Twitty registered a solo block and Spragg and Beddingfield combined for an assisted block. Inclan had one service ace, which came on the final point of the set.

Once again, UNM came out with the early edge in the fourth set, holding a two-to-three point advantage through the first 10 points. However, much like the third set, Nevada responded with a run to take a 10-6 Lobo lead to a tied set at 11. Nevada maintained the momentum to take a 13-11 lead off of a what would be 7-1 run. The Lobos were able to come back to tie the set at 14 and again at 17 after trailing by two in each instance, but Nevada then used a 5-0 run to take control at 22-17. UNM fought back to within three at 24-21 on a Carrasco kill, but Nevada forced a fifth set with the 25-21 win. Beddingfield, Carrasco and Twitty each had three kills and Inclan had eight assists. Pacheco had seven more digs and Twitty and Spragg combined for a block as did Beddingfield and Carrasco.

Going into the fifth set, the Lobos were 4-2 on the season, with their most recent instance being in the last match at Air Force, another victory. Much like that match, New Mexico stormed out to an early lead, scoring the first five points in the fifth set with a solo block by Spragg, three errors by Nevada and a kill by Twitty. The Wolf Pack managed to score the next two points to end the run, but it was only temporary as the Lobos’ lead then stretched to 11 at 13-2. Spragg registered another solo block and Twitty had three kills in the 8-0 run. Nevada was able to record two more points in the set before New Mexico secured the 15-4 set win on a Bierria kill. Twitty closed the match with five of the team’s six kills in the set, with Inclan assisting on four of them. Four players- Twitty, Morgan Schreckler, Inclan and Makayla Tam- each contributed two digs and Spragg had the only team blocks in the decisive set, both being solo. The Lobos hit .333 in the final set, while the Wolf Pack was in the negative at -.250.

Up next for the Lobos is a Saturday  home match with the Spartans of San José State. First serve is set for 1 p.m.  There will be a canned food drive for those in attendance to contribute to, as well as a Point Lobo reception to follow the match.