Open Announce

Lobos Host NMHU in Exhibition Action Saturday

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Before New Mexico Volleyball’s 2023 season officially gets underway next week, the Lobos are set to play host to New Mexico Highlands in an exhibition matchup on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m. at The Pit.

Saturday’s matchup with the Cowgirls will be the first opportunity for fans to see Head Coach Jon Newman-Gonchar’s 2023 squad in action, featuring nine returners and seven newcomers. This season, the Lobos were picked to finish fourth by the conference’s coaches in the preseason poll — the highest the Lobos have been predicted to finish in Newman-Gonchar’s tenure. 

Admission is free, with a post-match clinic for kids 13 and below on the court following the match. 

The Lobos enter the fall coming off their second straight winning season, going 17-12 on the season and 8-10 in conference in 2022 en route to a fifth-place finish and UNM’s second straight MWC Tournament berth. Newman-Gonchar has posted a 62.7% win percentage over the last two seasons, with 20 wins in 2021 marking the most for the program since 2013.

UNM’s nine returners combined for 70% of the Lobos’ total points last season, with 2022 All-MWC Outside Hitter Kaitlyn Biassou along with fellow 2022 starters Uxue Guereca (338 kills, 393.5 points) and Kali Wolf (228 kills, 276 points) highlighting the Lobos’ experience on the outside. 

Biassou put up career-high numbers for the third straight season in 2022, with 431 kills (3.68 per set) to go with 33 service aces and 504.5 points – all team-highs for UNM. The Reno, Nev. native ranked No. 4 in the Mountain West in kills and No. 3 in points per set (4.31) while also picking up 227 digs (1.94 per set) and tallying 75 total blocks. Currently at No. 4 on the program’s all-time kills list at 1,298, she’s 326 away from moving ahead of Chantale Riddle for the top spot.

Lauryn Payne, Madison Blanco, Melissa Walden and Elizabeth Woods all look to play bigger roles after combining for 239 set appearances in 2022, and seven newcomers – four freshmen and three graduate transfers – augment UNM’s depth all over the court. 

Following Saturday’s exhibition, the Lobos open up the season in Irvine, Calif. with matchups against Seton Hall and UC Irvine on Aug. 25 and San Francisco on Aug. 26. They’ll return to The Pit the week following for the Lobo Invitational Aug. 31-Sep. 2, playing host to Utah Tech, St. John’s and CSU-Bakersfield.

The Mountain West portion of the schedule begins on the road at Nevada on Sept. 21, with the Lobos’ first conference home match against Utah State on Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m.