Guereca and Biassou Lead Lobos in MW Opener Sweep
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The Lobos opened Mountain West competition in dominating fashion on Tuesday night at the Johnson Center, earning their eighth sweep of the season in a win over Air Force (25-20, 25-16, 25-17).
Uxue Guereca and Kaitlynn Biassou went kill-for-kill in the match with Biassou edging out Guereca 14 kills to 13 to lead all players. The duo nearly matched Air Force’s team total on the night as the Falcons finished with 28 kills in the match.
Biassou hit .524 on the night, an efficient 14 kills on 21 swings with just three attack errors, while Guereca was nearly as hot with 13 kills on 28 attempts and one error, finishing at .429.
Melissa Walden again led the match in assists with a match-high 21, finishing with 10 more assists than the Air Force’s top assist leader. Walden also led in digs with a team-high seven and Emma Smith was a force at the net with five assisted blocks.
The Lobos were clicking from the start of the match, leading from first point to set point in the first two sets, and held the edge in kills (39-28), assists (33-28), total blocks (7.0-6.0) and service aces (4-0), while also holding the Falcons to .083 while hitting .326. It is the sixth opponent that UNM has held under a .100 hitting percentage.
As aforementioned, the Lobos led from start to finish in the first set, winning the first two points on an Air Force ball handling error followed by Guereca’s first kill of the match. The Falcons closed to within one at 5-4, but the Lobos kept the lead with a Kali Wolf kill, the start of a 6-0 scoring run for UNM that included two blocks by Avital Jaloba (one solo, one combined with Kassie McGill), a Hayley Torres service ace and two more Falcon ball handling errors. A Guereca and Smith block pushed the lead to eight at 18-10 and the lead again reached eight on a McGill kill that pushed the Lobos to 20 points. Biassou closed the set with a final kill as the Lobos won the set, 25-20.
Biassou finished the opening frame with six kills on nine attempts, hitting .667, with Guereca adding five kills and hitting .364.
The Lobos didn’t lose any momentum in the second set, with Walden opening up the set with an ace and a Falcon attack error gave UNM the 2-0 lead. Again, Air Force answered to pull within two at 12-10, but the Lobos responded with the next two points on a Guereca kill and Smith and Guereca block to keep some cushion. A 3-0 run extended UNM’s lead to six at 18-12 and although the Falcons broke the run with a kill, the Lobos went on another run, this time 5-0 to push the Lobos to a 10-point gap at 23-13. An Air Force service error provided the final Lobo point as UNM took the set 25-16.
Guereca and Biassou each hit .500 in the set, with Biassou adding three kills and Guereca adding two to their total.
Air Force took its first lead of the match after winning the first point of the third set, opening up with a 3-0 lead, but the Lobos used a 6-0 run early on in the set to take an 8-4 lead, with Guereca contributing two kills, a Moldan ace and two Falcon attack errors. Air Force kept within close range, pulling back to two at 10-8, but again, Guereca answered on the next point to keep the Lobo lead intact. A 4-0 Lobo run extended the lead to six at 18-12 and a late 3-0 run pushed UNM to match point at 24-16. An exchange of service errors provided the final two points of the match as UNM won the set 25-17 and the match.
Much like the first set, Guereca and Biassou combined for 11 kills in the third set, this time with Guereca hitting .462 with six kills and Biassou with five kills.
With the win, the Lobos improve to 10-2 on the season and 1-0 in conference play. UNM remains at home for its next match, hosting Fresno State in the Bulldogs’ opening conference match on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in Johnson.
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