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Lobos Dispatch Aztecs in Four

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico Volleyball battled through three tight sets and ran away with the match in the closeout to knock off San Diego State in four (19-25, 25-21, 28-26, 25-16) Thursday night at the Johnson Center.

The Lobos (16-6, 8-3 MW) are now winners of three straight and six of their last seven, defeating the Aztecs (12-11, 4-7 MW) for the fifth straight meeting – their longest win streak against SDSU in school history.

Kaitlynn Biassou (17 kills, 10 digs) and Uxue Guereca (11 kills, 11 digs) both recorded double-doubles – Biassou’s eighth of the season and Guereca’s ninth – to lead a UNM offense that only hit .203 on the match but connected on at least 12 kills in each set. Meanwhile, the Lobos outblocked the Aztecs 12-8 and held them to .123 hitting on the match as they bounced back from a set one loss to take control.

The final three sets saw 21 ties and eight lead changes, but the Lobos won sets two and three with late runs before putting some distance between them and the Aztecs in the fourth.

UNM served up seven aces in total while only allowing two from SDSU, with Kali Wolf finishing with three and Guereca adding three more. Behind Biassou and Guereca’s double-doubles, six other Lobos finished with multiple kills and three had double-digit digs.

Melissa Walden also finished with a double-double, recording 20 assists and 13 digs. Madeleine Miller produced 14 more assists and a pair of digs off the bench.

Middle blockers Athina Dimitriadis and Elizabeth Woods both finished with five kills each, combining for 11 blocks. Walden added three more on .600 hitting, and Lauryn Payne added a pair of kills to go with four block assists off the bench.

The Lobos found some momentum coming out of timeout down 9-3 early, scoring seven of the next nine to get within one after Guereca’s first kill of the night made it 10-11. But they didn’t get any closer the rest of the way despite five kills from Biassou and five more from five different Lobos as the Aztecs hit .256 in the opening frame and converted on 57% of sideouts for a 25-19 set win.

UNM put things together earlier in the first despite an early 2-0 deficit, with Groe’s fourth ace in her last four matches tying things up and a 6-0 run capped off by Wolf’s second ace putting UNM up 11-5. The Aztecs tied things up at 20-all to threaten to steal the lead, and the two teams tied two more times before UNM closed with four straight to tie things up at a set apiece.

Another hot start from the Aztecs – this time a 10-5 surge – led to another Lobos rally coming out of timeout to get UNM going in a pivotal third. UNM finally ripped off a 5-0 run – capped by back-to-back SDSU attack errors –- to get within one at 14-13, but didn’t retake the lead until another 5-0 run put UNM up 20-18. The Aztecs rallied to force extra points, but after three ties, UNM scored the final three – with kills from Guereca and Payne – to snag a 2-1 lead.

Looking to keep things from going to a fifth, UNM notched match-high .296 hitting in the closeout set, with Biassou pouring in five more kills and Guereca, Woods and Wolf all adding two each to lead the way. UNM held SDSU to -.032 hitting in the final frame to stifle the Aztec’s attempt to tie it up, holding them to single-digit kills for the first time all night. Woods added a kill and a block assist in a 5-0 run that put UNM up 19-12, and the Lobos didn’t look back the rest of the way, scoring four of the final points with Guereca serving up her third ace of the night in the process to close things out.

UNM is 26-44 against San Diego State all-time, but has had better luck against the Aztecs recently – with tonight’s win, the Lobos are winners of five straight against SDSU, the longest win streak against the Aztecs in program history. None of the last nine meetings between the two teams have gone to a fifth set.

The Lobos remain home for a matchup with UNLV Saturday at 1 p.m. MT. Live stats and streaming will be available via and the Mountain West Network – follow @UNMLoboVB on socials for scores, highlights, gameday content and more.