Lobos Defeat Bulldogs in Four Behind 22 Kills by Guereca
FRESNO, Calif.— With a spot already secured in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, the Lobo volleyball team bolstered their standings with a four-set victory at Fresno State to close out the Mountain West regular season.
Uxue Guereca had another dominating performance, leading the match with 22 kills and a .452 hitting percentage, while adding 10 digs for her second double-double of the week. Melissa Walden recorded a match-high 32 assists and Alena Moldan registered a match-high 14 digs.
The Lobos got out to a 3-1 lead in the first set and used a 3-0 run to extend their lead to five at 13-8 on a Bulldog service error, a Kaitlynn Biassou kill and a Biassou and Avital Jaloba block. Another run, this time 4-0 on a Guereca kill, a Bulldog attack error, Biassou kill and bad Bulldog set extended the lead to eight at 18-10 and a Kassie McGill kill, a Jaloba and Kali Wolf block and Bulldog service error closed the match in UNM’s favor, 25-15.
Fresno State evened the match with a 25-16 win in the second set, and after a close third set in which the Bulldogs used a 3-0 run to close within one late at 23-22, Guereca answered with consecutive kills to give UNM the 25-22 set win for the lead in the match. The third set was the closest of the afternoon.
A 7-0 run in the fourth set provided the early separation for the Lobos in the fourth set, with three Bulldog errors, two Guereca kills and a McGill kill aiding the 11-5 Lobo lead. Fresno State closed within one at 15-14, but UNM responded with kills by Wolf, Guereca and a Bulldog attack error to push the lead back to four. Guereca continued to lead the Lobos, adding back-to-back kills that pushed UNM to 20-15 and a Jaloba kill kept the run going. A Guereca kill followed by a Wolf kill provided match point and Guereca delivered with a service ace for the 25-17 win and the match.
With the win, the Lobos improved to 20-9, 11-7 in conference, and finished fifth in the conference standings. Of note, it is the first time with 20 wins since 2013 and the 11 conference wins are the most since 2014. The last time the Lobos finished in the top-six in the conference was in 2015, when they finished fourth.
The season continues for the Lobos with UNM set to head to Las Vegas, Nev. next week for the MW Tournament with the first match scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 24.