NORMAN, Okla. - The Trojans got their block on in bunches, but it was the Lobos who rallied for the five-set win.
UALR (4-6) led 2-1 after a thrilling third set victory, but it was New Mexico (11-1) who rallied for the 18-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-17, 15-12 win Friday night in the first match of the Oklahoma Invite.
The Trojans came out fast and won the first set by eight thanks to a .333-.121 hitting advantage, but New Mexico edged the Trojans in the entire match .188-.169. UALR was strong at the net, out-blocking New Mexico 14-6.
Sophomore Edina Begic led UALR with double-digit kills for the 13th-straight match. She tallied 25 kills on 77 swings (.130 hitting percentage). Senior Daniele Souza Moura and freshman Tyler Davis both recorded career-match highs with nine blocks and 16 digs respectively. Sophomore Adisa Hodzic contributed nine kills and five blocks.
Chantale Riddle and Lena Skipper led New Mexico with double-doubles. Riddle recorded 24 kills and 13 digs while Skipper added 11 and 10. Miquella Lavato led the match with 27 digs.
Both teams stood at 10 in the first set before the Trojans were able to get some breathing room thanks to a service error by the Lobos, a kill from Begic and a double-block for Begic-Souza Moura. UALR strung multiple points together on serves the rest of the set and was successful on three-of-five sideouts to hold off UNM and win by eight.
It was a quick start for UALR in the second set that was thwarted by New Mexico. The Lobos recorded a pair of kills to open the frame, but a Begic kill got the Trojans on the scoreboard and UALR rattled off five-straight points off of senior Emily Pepperman's serve. New Mexico hit five-straight attack errors during the run, punctuated with a Souza Moura-Begic and Souza Moura-sophomore Marleen de Zoete assisted blocks.
The Lobos tied the set at 17 and took the lead for good on a Riddle kill and a UALR attack error. New Mexico only committed two attack errors after the run of five-straight in the beginning of the second set.
The third was back and forth until both teams turned in runs to get comfortable leads that each could not hold. Tied at 18, Hodzic and Begic recorded kills, and couple with a Lobos attack error, the Trojans took a 21-18 lead. A Lexi Ross kill put New Mexico back on serve before two errors and an Ashley Newman ace put UNM back in front 22-21.
Begic quickly gave UALR the lead for good with a pair of kills to swing a UALR 23-22 advantage. New Mexico repelled one set point to tie the set at 24, but another pair of Begic kills ended the frame.
Down two sets to one, it was UNM who stormed back to capture the five-set win. In the fourth, UALR took a 12-7 lead before a 7-0 run gave the Lobos the lead for good. Newman put UNM back on serve and two Riddle kills between an assisted block cut the deficit to 12-11. Two-straight UALR errors and an ace game New Mexico the lead in the frame and eventually an eight-point win.
New Mexico took a sizeable lead in the fifth at 11-7, but it was UALR's turn to go on a big run. Senior Sawyer Schaedig and Hodzic teamed up for a block on the side out and then a Hodzic-de Zoete block cut the deficit to two. A UNM error and a Hodzic kill tied the score at 11, but New Mexico scored off of three-straight attack errors to give them three set points. UNM hit a service error on the first, but a Riddle kill ended the set 15-12 New Mexico.
UALR returns to action tomorrow when it plays host Oklahoma at noon. The Trojans wrap up non-conference play Saturday night when they square off against SMU at 5 p.m.