UNM senior Kelly Williamson is a force to be reckoned with, both on the volleyball court and in the classroom.
She broke out as a key player last year against New Mexico State when she set career highs with 20 kills and 20.5 points on her way to making the Academic All-MWC team for her third straight season.
The team has finished with an identical 20-10 record the past two seasons, but Williamson has higher expectations for this season.
“I think we’re going to win the conference,” she said. “If we win we’ll go to the NCAA tournament and hopefully we can make it further this year.”
Williamson said she is also looking forward to this weekend’s contests against Southern Florida and Nebraska.
She said she has the Sept. 23 “green game” against conference rival TCU circled on the map as a big one: The game is near to her heart because environmental conservation is something she cares about deeply.
“This year’s theme is zero waste,” she said. “My major is conservational biology, and this year we’re going to have recycling and compost bins at the game.”
Williamson said she wants to attend graduate school with a focus on sustainability.
She would also like to pursue a career playing professional volleyball overseas. A native of Brazil, she plans on playing either for them, Puerto Rico or in Europe.
Head volleyball coach Jeff Nelson has nothing but praise for his senior star.
“She’s great,” Nelson said. “It’s not just volleyball — she’s a great leader; she’s great in the classroom. Every part of her college experience is coming together. She’s a person you really want to do well.”
Next year Williamson will be a candidate for the Rhodes scholarship, which is a post-graduate award in which recipients get to study full time at the University of Oxford in England.
Williamson also receives a lot of admiration from fans. After Saturday’s alumni game she was approached by a group of young girls who wanted her autograph.
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“We honestly have the best fans,” she said. “I feel sometimes I don’t deserve it. It’s encouraging.”
Williamson has learned a lot in her years as a Lobo and hopes she can take what she learned with her in her future endeavors.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is how much community matters,” she said. “My teammates are my sisters. There’s so much passion that goes into our team.”