New Mexico volleyball outside hitter Cassie House finds her stride
Volleyball may be her primary sport in college, but Cassie House has excelled at a variety of other sports throughout her life. While other athletes might dabble in other non-athletic activities growing up, House displayed exceptional talent in the swimming pool, competing at a high level before delving into the game of volleyball.
“A lot of people didn’t know that I was a huge swimmer before I started playing volleyball,” House said. “I went to [Junior Olympics] when I was 13, maybe 12. My goal was to go to the Olympics in swimming.”
That childhood dream didn't end up playing out as House admitted her experiences with one high school swim coach steered the outside hitter toward volleyball.
“The way she coached and the way that I have been previously trained to swim just didn’t mesh, and it kind of killed the love of the sport [of swimming] for me,” she said.
Although House excelled at swimming and volleyball early in her life, she doesn't limit her athletic ventures to the two sports. She enjoys what she describes as "a lot of weird outdoors-y sports" like dirt biking and white water rafting because she gets to spend time with her family during those activities.
“Throughout high school I lived with my mom and my little brother [..] we are three peas in a pod,” House said. “We travel together, we vacation together, we do dumb stuff together. We are just really, really close.”
Although House’s parents divorced, the 6-foot-2 outside hitter is close with her father and the extended family on both sides. The Rio Rancho native said she partly chose to attend UNM because she would be able to compete in front of her family.
“You just want to play in front of them and make them proud,” she said.
However, family wasn’t the only reason that led to House becoming a Lobo. .
“Club [volleyball] is a huge component in trying to get noticed and in trying to develop a better work ethic,” she said. “I started playing club my sophomore year of high school. That was when Jeff Nelson was my coach [...] He was a stickler for working hard in the gym and he still is.”
Like back in those days, House has been all over the map this summer playing for the US A2 National Team in combination with the Mountain West All-Star team. House traveled to Minneapolis to play with the national team in addition to making her way to Europe.
Nelson, earlier this summer, said he expects to see House’s confidence rise after being asked to take part in the tournaments.
“When you make it to this level, it’s a pretty daunting task to get selected,” Nelson said. “If she doesn’t feel really good and more confident then there is something wrong with her, because she certainly should.”
After all the experience House has gained this summer while putting her freshman campaign under her belt, the competitor said she's ready for the next step.