Sept. 20, 2012
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
Albuquerque, N.M. - In their Mountain West Conference opener, Colorado State (7-5) fell to the New Mexico Lobos (13-2) in five sets (25-10, 25-18, 11-25, 20-25, 9-15) on Thursday night.
The loss marks only the second time that the Rams have failed to win their conference opener in the Mountain West, with the only other loss coming in 2006.
The Rams started off as strong as they could have hoped for winning Set 1 25-10 and tallying 14 kills on .345 hitting. Colorado State jumped out to a 5-0 run to begin the match with Izzy Gaulia serving, and used that momentum to propel them through the first set. The Rams never trailed in the entire set.
Up front, CSU’s middle blockers caused the New Mexico attackers a lot of problems, forcing the Lobos into 8 attacking errors in the first set while hitting -.174.
In Set 2, the Lobos came out with more energy and kept things much more competitive. The set had a total of 12 tie scores and five lead changes before the Rams were able to pull away late in the set. Led by back-to-back blocks by senior middle blocker Megan Plourde, CSU was able to stretch the lead beyond two points for the first time in the set. The Rams finished the set on a 7-1 run and seemed to have all the momentum heading into the intermission.
The Lobos would respond coming out of the break though with a 6-1 run, seizing all the momentum they needed for the rest of the match. The big run at the beginning of the set was paired with a 7-0 run near the end of the set to propel the Lobos.
“They had complete control of the tempo from Set 3 on,” said Head Coach Tom Hilbert. “They flipped their rotations which allowed them to keep rallies alive longer. We got impatient, and they simply out-defended us.”
New Mexico kept the pressure on the Rams in Set 4, and played a very competitive back-and-forth set, though Hilbert believed that they were always in control of the set. Featuring nine tie scores and seven lead changes, the Lobos were able to pull away from the Rams late in the set, winning 25-20, and were able to push the match into a fifth set.
It was the second consecutive five-set match that the Rams have played in, but the added experience did not prove to help the team in the match. Unable to capture the momentum in the fifth set, CSU trailed from the very beginning and was not able to get back into it.
Plourde led the Rams with 13 kills and 11 blocks, posting her sixth double-double of her career and the second one of the season. It also marked the third time that Plourde has recorded double-digit blocks in a match.