UNM Travels to Colorado State and Wyoming
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.– Coming off of two hard-fought wins over Utah State and Boise State, the Lobos look to continue their momentum on the road at Colorado State and Wyoming this Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
Thursday’s matchup against the Rams will be a battle of 5-1 Mountain West teams, with the Rams 9-6 overall and the Lobos 14-3. The Lobos are off to their best start since 2013 and are tied with UNLV and Colorado State atop the conference.
The match with the Rams is set for 7 p.m. MT in Fort Collins, with Saturday’s match against the Cowgirls scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MT. Both will be streamed on the Mountain West Network with live stats available.
UNM has shown its resolve this season, and particularly last week, when the Lobos dropped the first set against both the Aggies and the Broncos, answering to win the second and third sets in both matches. The Aggies took the fourth set, forcing the first five-set match of the season for the Lobos, with UNM getting out to a 6-1 lead en route to a 15-10 set win to clinch the match. The Lobos defeated the Broncos in four after the two teams combined for 41 ties and 24 lead changes in the match.
Uxue Guereca and Kaitlynn Biassou were nearly unstoppable on the week, with Biassou recording 45 kills (5.0 per set), hitting .425, to go along with four service aces and 52.5 points (5.83 per set). Guereca tallied two double-doubles on the week, finishing with 35 kills (3.89 per set), 21 digs and 39.0 points (4.33 per set), while accounting for both match point kills. Melissa Walden had 80 assists between the two matches, with a career-high 42 against BSU, while Alena Moldan had 40 digs, 20 in each match. Both Biassou and Moldan were awarded MW Player of the Week (Biassou offensive, Moldan defensive) for their performances, the second of the season for the pair and the fifth for the Lobos as a team this season. The five weekly conference awards to date already marks the most in a single season in program history for the Lobos.
As the season progresses, Biassou just gets better and better. The outside hitter has recorded at least 10 kills in the last 10 matches, with a career-high 26 against Utah State, and has 10-plus kills in 12 of the 17 matches this season. Six times this season she has hit over .400 and once hit over .500 in a match (against Air Force, 14-3-21). Biassou currently leads the MW in kills (98), kills per set (4.26), points (116.5), and points per set (5.07) in conference matches. She is also fifth in service aces per set. The combination of Alena Moldan and Melissa Walden have also been dominant for the Lobos, with both among the top of the MW in digs and digs per set (Moldan second at 269, 4.56 per set) and assists (Walden fourth at 509, 8.63 per set).
To date, the Lobos have 145 more kills (780-635), 110 more assists (701-591), 73 more digs (885-812), 32 more blocks (131.0-99.0) and 42 more aces (97-55) than their opponents and are outhitting their opponents .254 to .136. That .136 opponent hitting percentage is good for the 10th best in the NCAA.
When it comes to the Mountain West, the Lobos are leading in opponent hitting percentage, assists per set (12.54), kills per set (13.95) and digs per set (16.0) and second in hitting percentage. Walden is fourth in assists per set, Moldan is second in digs per set, Biassou is third in kills per set (3.75) but with the second-most total kills (221) and third in points per set (4.51) but with the second-most points (266), with Guereca eighth in kills per set (3.12) and ninth in points per set (3.70). In just conference matches, UNM is third in blocks per set (2.30), opponent hitting percentage (.180) and in hitting percentage (.245). Moldan is sixth in digs per set (3.22), Emma Smith is fifth in blocks per set (1.21) and Walden is fifth in assists per set (7.48).
The Rams enter the match tied with the Lobos at 5-1 in the Mountain West, with wins over Boise State (3-0) Utah State (3-0), Wyoming (3-0), Nevada (3-0) and San José State (3-1), with a loss to Fresno State (3-1). Colorado State is 6-2 at home, 5-1 in three sets, 3-3 in four sets, and 1-2 in five sets. The Rams are led by Kennedy Stanford’s 160 kills, an average of 3.08 per set, with four attackers at over 100 kills this season. Setting for the Rams has been Ciera Pritchard, who has 536 assists on the season and averaging 9.40 per set. Pritchard also leads in service aces with 21, with Alexa Roumeliotis one behind her. Roumeliotis leads with a team-high 262 digs (4.60 per set) and Karina Leber leads in total blocks at 45.0 (four solo, 41 assisted). Roumeliotis leads the MW in digs per set and second in overall digs, with Pritchard second in total assists. In just conference matches, Roumeliotis is second in digs per set (4.30) and Pritchard is third in assists per set (9.60). As a team, the Rams lead the conference in opponent hitting percentage in just conference matches at .169. Colorado State was picked to finish third in the preseason poll with one first-place vote.
CSU leads the overall series 58-24 with the Lobos 9-30 in Fort Collins. UNM’s last win against the Rams came on Nov. 17, 2018 in Fort Collins. The Lobos are 8-36 in three sets, 8-13 in four sets and 6-9 in five sets.
Wyoming enters the weekend 10-8, 2-4 in conference, but have won its last two matches against San José State (3-2) and Nevada (3-0). The Cowgirls are 4-5 at home, 4-6 in three sets, 4-1 in four sets and 2-1 in five sets.
KC McMahon has a team-best 194 kills on the season (3.08 per set), with four attackers over 100 kills on the season. Payton Chamberlain leads with 375 assists (6.82 per set), while Abby Olsen has 190 assists (4.22 per set) and Kyra Slavik has 103 assists (4.68 per set). Hailey Zuroske has 16 service aces on the season to lead the Cowgirls, with Erika Jones at 15 and Jackie McBride at 14. Jones has a team-best 176 digs (2.75 per set) and McBride leads in total blocks (47.0 total, nine solo, 38 assisted). Lydeke King is just one total blocks behind with nine solo and 37 assisted.UW leads the MW in kills per set (13.23) and digs per set (15.18) in conference matches. Wyoming was picked to finish fourth in the MW preseason poll.
New Mexico is 34-50 overall against Wyoming, 13-26 in Laramie. UNM has lost the last six matches to the Cowgirls, with the last win coming on Sept. 23, 2017, a 3-0 win at Wyoming. The Lobos are 14-18 in three sets, 11-17 in four sets and 9-13 in five sets against Wyoming.