Open Announce

Lobos Clinch Spot in MW Championships with Win Against Aggies

by Allison Weiss

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The University of New Mexico volleyball team is going to the Mountain West Championships.

Behind a match-high 19 kills from Kaitlynn Biassou, a match-high 32 assists by Melissa Walden, a match-high three service aces from Alena Moldan and six assisted blocks by Avital Jaloba, UNM completed the season sweep of Utah State (for the first time since 2017) and won its third-straight match on Thursday night with scores of 25-23, 17-25, 25-15, 25-21.

In conjunction with Boise State losing to Air Force and San Diego State beating Nevada, the Lobos clinched their spot in the conference tournament with an 8-9 record and 17-10 overall record.

Walden finished with a double-double with a team-high 11 digs with Kali Wolf also reaching double figures with 10 digs.

The Aggies got out to a 4-2 lead in the first set that grew to 10-7 before a 7-0 Lobo run allowed UNM to take a 14-10 lead. During the run, MW Freshman of the Week Lea Zurlinden accounted for two kills and an assisted block, with Uxue Guereca and Biassou each having a kill. USU got a point back to end the run, although the Lobos had two runs of 3-0 to build a six-point lead at 18-12 and one that made it 22-14.  Utah State cut UNM’s 22-14 lead down to one at 24-23, but a Biassou kill gave the Lobos the first set 25-23.

Biassou opened the match with seven kills, hitting .545 in the set, while the Lobos outhit the Aggies .300 to .222. The Lobos also recorded 5.0 total blocks compared to 2.0 for USU.

UNM scored the first two points on a Walden ace and Aggie attack error, but USU recovered to tie the set at four. Following a tie at eight, USU used a 6-1 run to go ahead 14-9, and continued to lead in the 25-17 set win to even the match.

The Lobos regrouped in the third set, getting out to a 5-1 lead with Moldan contributing back-to-back service aces. UNM’s lead grew to 12-4 after a 6-0 run and extended to 10 at 14-4 and again at 17-7. The lead eventually reached 12 at 20-8 and 21-9 before Utah State closed the gap. However, the Aggies could only get as close at 24-15 before a Guereca kill closed the set for the 25-15 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.

Moldan and Wolf combined for three service aces in the set and the Lobos had 3.0 total blocks with two assisted by Zurlinden.

The Lobos were in control early in the fourth set, getting out to a 12-6 lead and later an eight-point lead of 18-10 on a Jaloba and Walden block.  Utah State did rally to get within two late at 20-18 and 21-19, to which New Mexico responded with kills by Biassou and Zurlinden to push the gap to four at 23-19. A kill by Biassou provided match point at 24-20, and although USU fought it off on the next play, Biassou provided the clinching point with a final kill.

Biassou closed the match with eight kills in the final set, hitting. 615 (8-0-13), as the Lobos hit .389 as a team.

The Lobos close out the MW conference schedule on Saturday against Boise State at 1 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at