Lobos Fall in First Round of MW Championships to Utah State
FORT COLLINS, Colo.— The 2022 volleyball season came to a close on Wednesday afternoon in the first round of the Mountain West Championships, with the Lobos falling 25-22, 25-15, 25-16 to Utah State.
Uxue Guereca and Kaitlynn Biassou finished with nine and eight kills, respectively, with Alena Moldan leading with eight digs and Avital Jaloba finishing with a solo block and four assisted blocks.
The Lobos took a 4-1 lead in the opening set, but the Aggies answered with a 5-2 run to tie the set at six. UNM pulled back ahead 8-6 and built a three-point lead at 10-7, 12-9 and 13-10 before USU evened the set again at 13. A Biassou kill, Jaloba solo block and kill by Kali Wolf restored the three-point lead at 16-13 and held a three-point lead at 19-16 and at 22-19 before the Aggies closed with the next six points to take their first lead of the set and win the set 25-22.
UNM and USU had ties at two and three before Utah State took a 7-3 lead in the second set. A block by Lea Zurlinden and Lauryn Payne brought the Lobos within three at 9-6 and a Guereca kill again kept the Lobos within range at 10-7. However, the Lobos were unable to get any closer as the Aggies went on a 3-0 run to stretch the deficit to six at 13-7, in the eventual 25-15 set score.
The third set started much of the same with the Aggies taking a 5-1 lead with the Lobos closing to within three at 7-4 on an Aggie attack error. A 3-0 USU run pushed the margin to eight at 16-8, with the Lobos unable to find an answer to get any closer than six on a Moldan ace that made it 18-12, falling 25-16 in the third set.
UNM finishes the season 17-12 and went 8-10 in conference. The Lobos lose Alena Moldan, Avital Jaloba and Anilee Sher to graduation, with Moldan finishing with 1520 career digs, fourth in program history.
The Lobos did rewrite the record books this season, with several players breaking into the top-5 in program history.
Jaloba finishes with 147 total blocks this season, setting the program record for most blocks in the 25-point rally scoring era and second all-time. Her 126 assisted blocks are also the most in program history in the 25-point rally scoring era and the ninth most all-time. Biassou’s 431 kills on the season ranks fifth in program history in the 25-point rally scoring era and her 504.5 points places her fourth in program history in the 25-point rally scoring era and 10th all-time. In addition, her 33 service aces places her second in the 25-point rally scoring era record book and Guereca’s 30 aces places her fifth. Moldan’s 502 digs ranked fourth in the 25-point rally scoring era and fourth all-time in program history. Sher’s 718 assists this season places her ninth in the 25-point rally scoring era.