While volleyball may be her primary sport in college, Cassie House has excelled at a variety of other sports throughout her life.
Most athletes dabble in other activities growing up, but House was showed exceptional talent in the swimming pool and competed at a high level before being introduced to 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 J.O.s (Junior Olympics) … when I was 13, maybe 12. My goal was to go to the Olympics in swimming.”
Fortunately for the UNM volleyball team, House said 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.
Aside from her success as a volleyball player and a swimmer, House still participates in several other sports.
“I do a lot of weird outdoorsy sports,” House said. “Me and my tia, which is my aunty, (she) got me into white water rafting. So I do white water rafting with her and I have my own boat.”
House enjoys traveling New Mexican skies partly because her extended family owns a hot-air balloon. House also can be found dirt biking on occasion, which she said can be attributed to her father’s side of the family.
The sophomore enjoys partaking in these adventurous sports because her family is involved with all of these 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-inch 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 the family she has such a tight bond with.
“It’s really nice playing in front of them. 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. Her experiences with the tight knit bunch of New Mexican native players throughout high school and club volleyball paved her way to UNM.
“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, Jeff Nelson was my coach … He was a stickler for working hard in the gym and he still is.”
Developing a solid foundation with Nelson, UNM’s head coach, allowed House to get a feel for how to perform at the collegiate level.
Playing club volleyball allowed House to travel across the nation in big tournaments.
Traveling is a major part of the young hitter’s life, affecting House’s decision as to what to study in the classroom.
“I am a secondary education major with a concentration in English,” she said. “I kind of want to double major in international studies so that way I can teach overseas.”
House certainly 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 is ready to take the next step.
Liam Cary-Eaves is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @Liam_CE.