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New Mexico Inks Spragg & Carrasco for 2014-15
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/13/2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- University of New Mexico head coach Jeff Nelson and assistant coaches Lisa Beauchene and JJ Glavan are pleased to announce two National Letter of Intent signees in Victoria Spragg and Mariessa Carrasco who will join the Lobo volleyball program next fall.

"This recruiting class really takes care of what we need," Nelson said. "These are kids -- with their experience and the amount of club ball they've played -- that can come in and push for playing time right away, like this year's class did. They're going to add depth and make us even stronger."

Spragg hails from Belen, N.M., and will graduate from Belen High School in the spring. PrepVolleyball.com lists her as No. 35 on its Senior Aces Top 43 Middle Blockers in the class of 2014.

The 6-foot-4 1/2 middle blocker is a five-year letterwinner in volleyball and two-year letterwinner in basketball. In 2012 Spragg was named First-Team All-District, Second Team All-State and two-time District 6 4A Player of the Year (2012 and 2013). She also earned District All-Academic accolades as a junior, and her 3.91 GPA ranks her No. 7 in her class.

Spragg begins her third year of playing ball for New Mexico Juniors this fall.

"I think she's the best high school player in the state this year," Nelson said.

For Spragg, choosing UNM means playing big-time volleyball while staying in familiar territory.

"It's close to home and family," Spragg said. "I think I will be a good fit with the UNM players and coaching staff. I've gotten to know the players and coaches and like the environment and can't wait to be a Lobo."

Carrasco is a 6-foot-1 middle blocker who will graduate from Chapin High School in El Paso, Texas in the spring. She is a four-year letterwinner in volleyball having earned her first varsity letter at Leilehua High School in Wahiawa, Hawaii, and the remaining three at Chapin.

"I would really call Mariessa a utility player," Nelson said. "She could play anywhere. She jumps really high, she's exceptionally fast and she has a beautiful, classic arm swing. She could really, do just about anything for us. She's the kind of kid we like."

Nelson compares her to current Lobos Lexi Ross and Cassie House; athletic and versatile.

Carrasco says she knew New Mexico was the place for her when she came on her official visit.

"Unlike any other university I visited, I felt like I was at home," she said. "Walking the campus, playing with my future teammates at camp, talking with the coaches and spending time with current players off the court all the while feeling welcomed, comfortable and relaxed were some huge factors in my decision."

As a sophomore in 2011, Carrasco helped Leilehua finish runner-up at the Hawaii State Championships and for the past two seasons has helped Chapin win the 1-4A District title -- shared title in 2012 and outright champions this fall.

Carrasco earned All-State honorable mention (Hawaii) in 2011 and in 2012 was named All-City Second Team. She recorded 128 blocks as a junior, which is the Chapin High School record.

She started out playing club volleyball in Hawaii at Mililani Volleyball Club where she helped her team earn the state championships for 16s and finished third in state at the 18s level. Most recenlty Carrasco played for Wildfire Volleyball Club where she and her team were El Paso Stars Power League Champions and took second place at both the Sun Country Tournament and the Albuquerque Qualifier.

Carrasco is also a standout in the classroom, having been recognized specifically for her performance in advanced biology class.

"We're losing Lexi Ross in the middle, but we're gaining two middles with a lot of experience who are also good athletes. We're adding to our depth there," Nelson said. "With the return of Ashley Kelsey, we've got a fourth outside hitter to replace Lena Skipper or possibly, a libero. Her ball-control skills are outstanding."

New Mexico graduates Ross, Skipper and Miquella Lovato at the conclusion of this season.

Counting Kelsey, UNM will return 12 for the 2014-15 campaign.

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