Biassou's strong homecoming leads New Mexico over Nevada in five sets

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RENO, Nev. - The Nevada volleyball team fell to New Mexico in a tough five-set match on Thursday evening. Reno high school graduate and Lobos freshman Kaitlynn Biassou led a furious comeback for UNM, finishing the night with 19 kills. The Pack, now 14-5, 4-3 in Mountain West play is ready to bounce back after suffering two hard losses in a row.

Even in the tough loss, Nevada managed to set new career and season highs, beginning with Kili Robins. The sophomore outside hitter racked up 19 kills, a new career high, to lead the team along with a .341 hitting percentage with only five errors in the contest. Not far behind was Kassie McGill who claimed 14 kills of her own, also a new career high.

Joining the double digit club was freshman Sydney Petersen who recorded 10 kills along with a team high, five block assists. Junior outside hitter Kayla Afoa registered 15 kills and 14 digs to claim her twelfth double-double of the season while Dalyn Burns had a night for herself. The senior setter recorded 50 assists, now with 2,681 in her career, she moved into fifth in all-time assists for Nevada. Burns also racked up her tenth double-double and a season high three service aces.

Mandalay Rennon got the start in all five-sets and registered a team high number of digs with 22 to go along with her service ace. Afoa and Ryan Blackwood each had two of their own and Kaila Spevak had one, they all combined for seven aces as a team.

With scores of 25-21, 22-25, 26-24, 22-25 and finally 9-15; Nevada took the first and third sets while the Lobos held together to come back and win in each of the second, fourth and fifth sets to clinch its first conference win of the year.

New Mexico and Nevada each secured a set win before the intermission so it was tied, 1-1. The Lobos grabbed the first point of the third set however and the two went back and forth for the majority of the set with two points being the largest difference. Nevada regained the lead at the 20-19 mark but New Mexico tied it up again at 22-22. An ace from Afoa put the Pack in a set point situation and back-to-back kills from Robins secured the set and put Nevada up 2-1.

The Lobos won the fourth set to send the match into a deciding set where they came out and won three of the first four points, 3-1 and took the commanding lead, 8-3 at the switch. After the media timeout, Nevada scored two quick points, 8-5 and exchanged service errors with New Mexico, 9-6. Two more kills from the Lobos forced Lee Nelson to call a timeout. A kill from Robins was countered with two kills from the Lobos to put them at match point, 14-7. Nevada held them off for two straight points thanks to kills from Petersen and McGill but ultimately, New Mexico claimed it, 15-9.

Next for Nevada is a match against UNLV on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 1 pm in Virginia Street Gym. This marks the first matchup for the two in volleyball and for points in the Silver State Series.