UNM volleyball falls to Wyoming

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By The Staff

Lauren Twitty posted her ninth double-double of the season and Carly Beddingfield set an all-time career high in kills, but it wasn’t enough as the University of New Mexico volleyball team fell in four sets to Wyoming Thursday evening.
Despite the strong offensive effort, which included a 43-assist performance from freshman setter Sarah Lobo, the Lobos (11-11 overall, 3-6 Mountain West) couldn’t hold off the Cowgirls (12-9, 7-2) in Johnson Center as they fell by set scores of 25-17, 25-27, 25-23, 25-18.
“I think we battled and fought really well,” Lobo said after her first collegiate start. “The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but I think we went for balls we knew to go for. Wyoming got kills, and it happens, but that’s part of the game. I’m not upset with how we played.”
Between Twitty’s and Beddingfield’s kills and Lobo’s setting, New Mexico’s offense roared to its best showing in over a month.
“This game was a little nerve-wracking,” Lobo said. “I tried not to think about it, just tried to stay out of my head and just play volleyball.”
However, in spite of the strong offensive performances, New Mexico’s serve receive wasn’t up to its usual standard, which gave Wyoming easy points in a match where two sets came down to the wire.
“I didn’t think we handled the ball as well as we should have,” head coach Jeff Nelson said.
Ashley Kelsey did finish with a game-high 20 digs (her first 20-dig match since Sept. 15 at Toledo), with Twitty adding 13. Lobo almost had her first career double-double, but finished a dig short with nine on the evening.
“AK had a great defensive match – as good as she’s had in awhile,” Nelson said. “There’s a lot of positives.”
Nonetheless, Wyoming started the match on a roll, jumping out to a 9-4 lead.
The Lobos would cut the deficit to three points after a Mercedes Pacheco ace, but the Cowgirls reeled off a 7-2 run to go up 16-8.
New Mexico would close to within five points at a few instances late, but back-to-back aces for UW finished off the set 25-17 in favor of the visitors.
Twitty and Beddingfield both had three kills in the set, but Wyoming’s serving (four aces) and offense (.458 hitting percentage) proved the difference.
UNM came out with some fire in the second frame, holding an early 8-5 lead. The Lobos would maintain that advantage all the way to 20-17, at which point Wyoming scored six unanswered to move ahead 23-20.
But New Mexico responded with three straight points to tie the set, sparking a tense last few minutes of action. The Cowgirls got the first shot at set point at 24-23, but kills by Beddingfield and Spragg gave UNM a chance at 25-24. Another UW point made it 25-all, but Beddingfield and Tan won the set 27-25 with two final kills.
Tan posted five kills in the frame, one behind Twitty’s six for the most in the set for UNM. Beddingfield added two putaways, but they were key during the team’s final push. The Lobos hit .417 in the set (18-3-36).
Coming of out intermission, Wyoming struck first, scoring six of the first 10 points of the set. UNM would pull ahead at 11-9 and would not relinquish the lead until late as Wyoming finished the set by scoring four of the final five points to win 25-23.
Beddingfield posted superb numbers in the third stanza, registering seven of her 13 kills in set three.
She didn’t have an error, but six attack errors by UNM as a team were the difference.
With the lead in the match, Wyoming stormed out to an 8-1 lead in set four. UW would expand its lead to nine during the middle of the set, but the Lobos battled late, cutting the lead to five at 21-16 after a 5-1 run.
However, UNM would get no closer as the Cowgirls won it 25-18. Twitty had five kills, but she was the only Lobo with more than two in the set.