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Lobos Sweep UNLV in Dominant Fashion in Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – New Mexico Volleyball made a statement in Vegas Thursday evening with a three-set sweep (25-18, 25-16, 25-18) of UNLV, with the Lobos (11-5, 3-2 MW) posting their most prolific offensive performance yet this season to rout the preseason Mountain West favorite Rebels (11-6, 3-2 MW) in their home gym.

UNM pulled away midway through each set thanks to season-high .347 hitting on the match for their first sweep of conference play, getting double-digit kills from Uxue Guereca (13) and Kaitlynn Biassou (11) in the process while Guereca added four aces to help the Lobos snap a seven-game losing streak to UNLV that dated back to 2019. 

“A truly impressive win,” said UNM Head Coach Jon Newman-Gonchar, who picked up his first career win against the Rebels. “UNLV was fantastic and gave us everything they had – we played a very strong brand of Lobo Volleyball and I couldn’t be more proud of how we handled the highs and lows of the match.

“For now, we enjoy the moment – then we’re on to San Diego State!”

The senior outside duo was hot from the opening ball, both hitting over .500 the first two sets while combining for 19 kills as the Lobos raced out to a two-set advantage. UNM only committed six attack errors over those first two sets, connecting on a total of 29 kills in that span.

UNM’s defense took care of the rest, holding the Rebels — who still tout the highest season average in the league — to .144 hitting while outblocking them six to five and outdigging them 38 to 34. UNM held MW Preseason Player of the Year Isabel Martin to .152 hitting while UNLV committed 16 attack errors in total.

The Lobos’ middles took over to keep things going in the third, with UNM coming up with five of its six total blocks in the closeout set while getting three kills each from Athina Dimitriadis and Elizabeth Woods as UNM rode out a healthy lead to seal the sweep.

New Mexico improves to 3-2 in conference play with a pair of marquee wins back to back – the Lobos have won six of their last seven sets and five in a row, all of which by at least five points each. In UNM’s 11 set wins through five matches of MWC play, the average margin of victory is 6.19 points.

The Lobos’ win knocked the Rebels (3-2) out of a tie for first place in the Mountain West, but three teams – Air Force, Utah State and Boise State – all came away with victories Thursday night to remain tied for first at 4-1. UNM and UNLV are now tied for fourth behind them.

The Lobos are now 2-1 against three of the four teams that entered tonight tied for first in the conference after defeating Boise State last Saturday and falling to Utah State last Thursday, both in four sets.

Guereca’s big night was the 50th double-digit kill performance of her career – her .478 hitting mark was a match-high, and she led the Lobos in total blocks (2.5) along with team-high 4 aces and 13 kills. Biassou also cracked double-digits with 11 kills to her name, hitting .320 on the match.

Middle blockers Athina Dimitriadis and Elizabeth Woods both hit above .300 as well while adding five kills each and combining for 2.5 total blocks. Dimitriadis added two aces and Woods heated up late to keep the Lobos rolling, coming up with three kills and three block assists in the final set to help UNM stay a step ahead.

The win is UNM’s second against a team ranked among the Top 100 in the nation by RPI – the Lobos are 1-1 in those matchups.

Melissa Walden generated 22 of UNM’s 32 assists, with four other Lobos finishing with multiple to complete UNM’s most balanced passing effort of the season. Making her first collegiate match start, true freshman Giselle Groe assisted on three along with a team-high 11 digs while Guereca, Woods and Wolf added two each.

With the win, the Lobos snap a seven-match losing streak to the Rebels that dated back to 2019, improving to 19-30 all-time against UNLV. Their last win over UNLV in 2018 was also a three-set sweep on the road in Vegas, UNM’s third-straight against the Rebels at the time.

The Lobos (11-5, 3-2 MW) have a chance to go for their third straight win when they continue their road trip with a matchup with San Diego State (7-9, 2-3 MW) Saturday at 2 p.m. (MT). The match will be broadcast via the Mountain West Network, with live stats available via Follow @UNMLoboVB on IG, X and Facebook for match day updates, behind-the-scenes content and more.