Open Announce

Lobos Host Wyoming and Colorado State to Start Second Half of MW

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.– The second half of the Mountain West volleyball schedule starts this week and the New Mexico Lobos have two great opponents at home in Wyoming and Colorado State.

Wyoming enters the week at 13-9 overall, 5-5 in conference, while Colorado State enters at 13-6 and leading the conference at 9-1. New Mexico is 15-6 overall and tied for fourth in the standings with UNLV at 6-4. The match against the Cowgirls starts on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with the match against the Rams on Saturday at 12 p.m. Both matches will be at the Johnson Center, with streaming available for those not able to attend on the Mountain West Network.

The Lobos split the week with a five-set loss to San José State while earning their 10th sweep of the season at Nevada. Kaitlynn Biassou produced a team-best 43 kills between the two matches (22 against the Spartans and 21 against Nevada), averaging 5.38 kills per set and 6.44 points per set, and had a team-best six service aces. The outside hitter posted a career-best .606 hitting percentage against the Wolf Pack, while also recording four service aces. Uxue Guereca had an outstanding weekend of her own with two double-doubles, on identical 12 kills, 10 digs stat lines. Setting the Lobos, Melissa Walden averaged 9.0 assists per set, with 37 against Nevada and 35 against the Spartans. Her 37 assists nearly matched Nevada’s team total of 39. Guereca and Moldan tied for the team high in digs with 20 on the week and Avital Jaloba and Elizabeth Woods tied in blocks with 8.0 total (Woods with 2 solo and six assisted and Jaloba all assisted).

In her first season as a Lobo, sophomore setter Walden has been an assist machine, recording 40-plus assists (42) once, 30-plus assists (30, 31, 32, 33, 38, 37, 35 and 39 twice) in nine matches and 20-plus assists in nine (24, 25, 21, 23, 27 twice, and 28 three times) for a total of 616 assists, and is averaging 8.44 assists per set. In addition, Walden has registered a team-high 11 double-doubles.

As the season progresses, Biassou just gets better and better. The outside hitter has recorded at least 10 kills in 13 of the last 14 matches, with a career-high 26 against Utah State, and has 10-plus kills in 15 of the 21 matches this season and 20-plus kills in three matches including the last two. Seven times this season she has hit over .400, once hit over .500 in a match (against Air Force, 14-3-21) and hit over .600 in the match at Nevada (21-1-33, .606). The Reno, Nev., native leads the MW in kills (165), kills per set (4.46) and is second in points (194) and points per set (5.24) in conference matches. She is also third in service aces per set (0.46) and tied with the second most (17).

As a team, UNM once again is among the top of the rankings in opponent hitting %, ranking 19th at .154 and 61st in hitting percentage (.243). Biassou is nationally ranked 35th in points per set (4.71), 50th in aces per set, 51st in service aces (31), 54th in points (343.5) and 55th in kills per set (3.95). In conference matches, UNM is third in the Mountain West in opponent hitting percentage (.201), with Walden fourth in assists per set (7.57) and the fourth-most assists (280), and Moldan sixth in digs per set (3.27). Emma Smith is fifth in blocks per set (1.18).

To date, the Lobos have 127 more kills (947-820), 95 more assists (856-761), 66 more digs (1069-1003), 19 more blocks (155-136) and 43 more aces (117-74) than their opponents and are outhitting their opponents .243 to .154.

Since the last time the Lobos faced the Cowgirls, Wyoming dropped a five-set loss to UNLV but swept San Diego State.

The Cowgirls are 4-3 on the road, 7-6 in three sets, 4-1 in four sets and 2-2 in five sets. KC McMahon has a team-best 229 kills on the season (2.97 per set), with Naya Shime closely behind at 224 (2.95 per set). Five attackers have over 100 kills on the season. Payton Chamberlain leads with 375 assists (6.7 per set), while Abby Olsen has 324 assists (5.49 per set) and Kyra Slavik has 103 assists (4.68 per set). Erika Jones has a team-high 21 service aces on the season to lead the Cowgirls as well as a team-best 236 digs (3.03 per set) and Jackie McBride leads in total blocks (58.0 total, 12 solo, 46 assisted). Lydeke King is just three total blocks behind with 12 solo and 43 assisted. Wyoming is third in the conference in assists per set (11.94) and fourth in hitting percentage (.249), and second in the conference in kills per set (13.28) and digs per set (13.89) in MW matches. McBride is third in hitting percentage (.399), while Naya Shime is third in kills per set (3.77) and Jones is third in digs per set (3.92) in MW matches.

The Rams enter the week having won their last six matches, including four in straight sets. CSU picked up sweeps over Air Force and UNLV and a five-set win over San Diego State since the last time UNM played the Rams.

Colorado State is 4-4 on the road, 8-1 in three sets, 3-3 in four sets, and 2-2 in five sets. The Rams are led by Kennedy Stanford’s 204 kills, an average of 3.09 per set, with four attackers at over 100 kills this season. Setting for the Rams has been Ciera Pritchard, who has 680 assists on the season and averaging 9.58 per set. Pritchard also leads in service aces with 28, with Alexa Roumeliotis four behind her. Roumeliotis leads with a team-high 321 digs (4.52 per set) and Sasha Colombo leads in total blocks at 57.0 (nine solo, 48 assisted). Roumeliotis is second in the MW in digs per set (4.26) and third in overall digs (145), with Pritchard third in total assists (336) and assists per set (9.88) in MW matches. As a team, the Rams are second in hitting percentge (.264), third in digs per set (12.79), service aces per set (1.71) and in kills per set (13.06) and fourth in blocks per set (2.21) and assists per set (11.88) in MW matches. The Rams also lead in opponent hitting percentage in MW matches at .167.