Open Announce

UNM Wins All Three MW Weekly Awards

by Allison Weiss

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Following a historic week for the Lobo volleyball team, New Mexico won all three of the Mountain West weekly awards, as announced by the conference on Monday.

Uxue Guereca earned MW Offensive Player of the Week, Alena Moldan earned MW Defensive Player of the Week and Lea Zurlinden earned MW Freshman of the Week. It is the third career honor for Guereca (second for offensive), fourth for Moldan and second for Zurlinden. However, it is the first weekly conference accolade for Guereca and Moldan this season, while Zurlinden also won freshman of the week on Sept. 12.

It is the second time that UNM has swept the awards, with the others occurring in spring 2021 with Guereca and Kali Wolf in week one and in 2017, however it is the first time that UNM has won all weekly honors since freshman of the week was introduced in fall 2021.

Monday’s selections continue what was a great week for the Lobos, with New Mexico sweeping Colorado State in Fort Collins for just the second time in program history and the first time since 1989 followed by a five-set win over Wyoming in Laramie. UNM defeated both CSU and Wyoming on the road in the same season for the first time in program history, further enhancing what a feat it was.

A large part of UNM’s success was due to Guereca and Moldan, with Zurlinden having her best result in a MW match this season against Wyoming.

Guereca led the Lobos with 36 kills and averaged 4.5 kills per set with 5.0 points per set (40 points total). The outside hitter had six kills in the fifth set at Wyoming, with back-to-back kills that tied the set at seven and gave UNM an 8-7 lead, and back-to-back kills that put UNM up 12-7 as part of what amounted to a 7-0 Lobo run. Earlier in the match, Guereca hit .700 (7-0-10) in the second set, including five kills between 15-11 Lobos and 19-13 Lobos. She finished with a match-high 23 kills in the win against the Cowgirls and combined with 15 digs, recorded her second double-double of the week. Guereca was just as efficient in the win at CSU on Thursday, hitting .462 with 13 kills and one error on 26 attacks and had 10 digs for a double-double. In the second set, she had two kills that put UNM up 8-6 and 10-6, and had two kills in the third set that kept the Lobos in front at 7-5 and 8-6. With the Lobos at match point, Guereca provided the clinching kill for the 26-24 win. In the third set on Thursday, Guereca hit .714 with five kills, zero errors on seven attacks and hit .400 with four kills, zero errors and 10 attacks in the second set.

Moldan had one of her best weeks of the conference season, with 38 digs on the week that included a team-high 20 against Wyoming and a match-high 18 against Colorado State. She averaged 4.75 digs per set, and had nine digs alone in the first set against the Rams, accounting for 37.5% of UNM’s digs in the set, and five in the third set, accounting for 41.7% of UNM’s digs in the set. In Saturday’s match at Wyoming, the Lobo libero had 14 digs in the fourth set.

Zurlinden finished with 13 kills with just one error (13-1-3), hitting .400 on the week to go along with seven total blocks (one solo and six assisted). She tied her season high with 10 kills at Wyoming, but was her best hitting performance against a Mountain West team. The Switzerland native hit .474 in the win at Wyoming, with a perfect 1.000 (4-0-4) in the first set. Among her kills in the opening set, Zurlinden had a kill that kept UNM ahead at 13-11 and had back-to-back kills that made it 22-18 Lobos and 23-19 Lobos. Against the Rams, the middle blocker opened the match with two kills that put UNM up 2-1 and had consecutive assisted blocks that gave UNM leads at 16-8 and 17-8.

The Lobos are 16-10 on the season and 7-9 in the Mountain West, currently sitting in a tie for fifth in the conference standings with Nevada with two matches remaining. UNM is set to host Utah State on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and Boise State on Saturday at 1 p.m. Tickets for both matches can be purchased at