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Lobos Fall in Five to Broncos to Wrap Up Home Schedule

by Allison Weiss

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The Lobos forced a fifth set against Boise State on Saturday afternoon at the Johnson Center, but the Broncos took the set and the match 25-15, 16-25, 22-25, 25-20, 12-15.

Uxue Guereca led with 18 kills and tallied her 16th double-double of the season with 10 digs, Kaitlynn Biassou added 12 kills with a career-high eight assisted blocks and Alena Moldan accounted for a match-high 24 digs in the match, moving into fourth all-time in career digs in the match with 1,512.

Melissa Walden added another double-double, her third straight and sixth of the season, with 35 assists and 13 digs, with Kali Wolf one kill shy of a double-double with 14 digs.

As a team, the Lobos had 16.0 total blocks, the third-straight match with 10-plus total blocks, with 15-plus in two of the last three.

The Lobos built a 12-6 lead in the opening set behind a 7-1 run, a lead that later expanded to 17-7 on a 4-0 run of two Guereca kills, a Bronco attack error and a Biassou and Lea Zurlinden block. UNM continued to push the lead, with the margin reaching 12 at 22-10 on a Biassou service ace. Boise State scored four-straight points to cut into the lead, but UNM won 25-15 and outhit BSU .214 to .031 behind four kills from Guereca.

UNM took the early 3-1 lead in the second set before the Broncos tied the set at five. Following a tie at seven, the Broncos used a 6-0 run to pull away from the Lobos, going on to win 25-16 to even the match at a set each. The Lobos struggled offensively with seven kills, but were able to get some production from blocks with 4.0 total blocks, three of which were from Zurlinden.

The Broncos went ahead 12-6 in the third set, a margin that was maintained at 16-10, but the Lobos rallied with a 6-0 run to tie the set with three assisted blocks by Avital Jaloba, two from Biassou and one for Wolf. There was another tie at 17 before BSU won the next three points to take the 20-17 lead. UNM again had an answer to pull back within one at 22-21 on a Biassou kill, but the Lobos couldn’t complete the comeback the second time, falling 25-22 in the set.

Trailing 10-7 in the fourth set, the Lobos again answered with a rally to tie the set at 10 on a kill by Guereca, a kill by Biassou and another Guereca kill. After each team exchanged points to create ties at 11, 12, 13 and 14, UNM went on a 4-0 run with two BSU attack errors, a Guereca kill and a Walden and Jaloba block to create some separation. The lead would alternate between four and five points late in the set, with a Biassou and Jaloba block providing the final point for the 25-20 Lobo set win to extend the match to the decisive fifth.

Guereca hit .714 in the set with five kills, zero errors and seven attacks, while the Lobos outblocked the Broncos 5.0 to 0.0 with two solo blocks (one each by Wolf and Jaloba).

The fifth set featured ties at one, three and four before Boise State took the slight 6-4 lead. Two Bronco errors tied the set back up at six, and another exchange of points created ties at seven and eight. Boise State took an 11-9 lead to which a Guereca and Jaloba block and a Jaloba service ace evened the set back up. A Guereca kill provided one final tie at 12 before BSU won the next three points to take the set and the match.

Up next: UNM will be the No. 5 seed in the Mountain West Championships next week in Fort Collins, Colorado and will face No. 4 Utah State in the first match of the tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. MT.