ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (BVM) — Kaitlynn Biassou didn’t always plan on playing volleyball in college. As a first team all-state player in two sports for Reno High School in Reno, Nevada, she actually had more offers to play Division I basketball, with the likes of Texas Tech, Oregon State and Wright State all showing significant interest in adding the two-sport star to their programs.
But as Biassou moved closer to her senior year at Reno, she began developing a deeper love for volleyball, which led her to the University of New Mexico.
“When I came here I just immediately fell in love with the campus and the team atmosphere,” Biassou said. “I watched them play when I was on my visit and just with how many people showed up and the energy was crazy, I knew the second after I came here that this was the school I wanted to be at. This was somewhere I can see me growing and that’s what’s happened, so I’m definitely happy with my choice to come here.”
It’s safe to assume that anyone who roots for the UNM volleyball program is also happy that Biassou chose Albuquerque. The Lobos, in search of their first winning season since 2015, are off to their best start in eight years and Biassou is one of the main reasons why. The junior outside hitter not only leads her team in points (266), kills (211) and service aces (24), but she has also the second-most points and kills in the Mountain West Conference.
Biassou being one of the best attackers in the conference is more impressive when taking into account the fact that she doesn’t have the size of a typical Division I outside hitter, who will commonly stand at least 6 feet tall. At only 5-foot-9, Biassou is used to being overlooked, but she embraces her height.
“I’m thankful for my height,” Biassou said. “It’s also cool to have girls from middle school and high school teams come up to me and be like, ‘I’m also really short, but I play the same position as you,’ and they can see me being successful being only 5-9 and playing at a high level and it’s working.”
Biassou’s individual performance this season isn’t much of a surprise considering she was an All-Mountain West selection as a sophomore, but the Lobos are now finding success as a team, which is a welcomed change after they won only four of 14 matches during a COVID-shortened season this past spring.
“We’re a lot healthier now,” Biassou said. “We lost some bodies due to injuries (last season) but I think now we’re all healthy, we’re feeling good and we have really good connections with each other so I think that’s helping us on the court be successful as well. I think definitely the difference is we have depth on our bench which is helping us start off so strong.”
At 14-3, it’s the Lobos’ strongest start since 2013 when they won 14 of their first 16 matches and finished 24-7, their best mark since the early ‘90s.
“We’re definitely aware of how good we’re doing right now, but we’re also making sure we’re keeping it one game at a time and not trying to focus too hard on the future,” Biassou said. “We’re focused on playing Colorado State (Thursday) and making sure we’re mentally ready for this game and then win or lose, we’re moving on to the next game and ready to bounce back and continue our energy and hunger to win.”
The Lobos ultimately hope to win enough to capture the Mountain West title and reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years. There’s still a month and half of season left before that will be decided, but with Biassou leading the way, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see UNM playing for a big prize later this fall.
“I definitely think we’re capable of doing it,” Biassou said. “There’s not one set team in this conference that’s destined to win it. I think we all have a pretty high chance. It’s definitely in the back of our heads, but we’re just excited with how we’re doing now and we’re excited for the journey.”