Photo by Andres Acosta, Chief Photographer El Paso Herald Post
The UTEP volleyball team (3-14, 0-5 C-USA) will stay home for a two-match home stand to battle Florida Atlantic (14-4, 4-1 C-USA) and FIU (12-6, 4-1 C-USA) on Friday and Sunday.
The Miners come back home after last weekend’s conference road trip.
On Friday (6 p.m. MT) UTEP will be tested by conference front-runner Florida Atlantic. Sunday (12 p.m. MT) will be bring another Florida team to El Paso, when the Panthers come to town for their seventh conference bout this season.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids. For more information about the team day program call the UTEP marketing department at (915) 747-6065.
FAU Scouting Report
With a record of 4-1 in conference and 14-4 overall, Florida Atlantic sits in the third spot in C-USA. The Owls lead the nation in assists per set (15.05) and kills per set (15.89). Their sole loss in conference was against their instate rivals FIU.
Senior Ivone Martinez, the national leader in assists per set, was named C-USA setter of the week (10/8) with a season-high 62 assists and 13 digs. It was her fifth double-double of the season. Massiel Matos was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week (9/24). She notched 17 kills against UAB and recorded her fifth double-double of the season. Matos also has the most aces per set in the conference. She is also ranked third in the league for points per set.
FAU Series Info
UTEP will be seeking to even up the all-time series at three victories against Florida Atlantic on Friday night. The last time the Miners defeated the Owls was Nov. 6, 2016, when then-sophomore Kylie Baumgartner recorded the second-most total blocks in a four set match (12) in program history and a career high in total blocks.
FIU Scouting Report
FIU is 12-6 and 4-1 in conference. In league play wins, the Panthers have notched three clean sweeps and only gave up one set in their win against Florida Atlantic. Their sole loss in conference was against North Texas.
Lina Bernier earned C-USA Defensive Player of the Week (9/24), notching 39 digs against UAB and Marshall. Margherita Bianchin is the conference leader for triple doubles with two this season. FIU boasts an impressive 9-1 record at home this season, but has not been able to replicate that success on the road with only one victory and three losses.
FIU Series Info
The Miners hold a 3-2 series advantage over the Panthers. The last victory came at Memorial Gym during the 2016 season when five current players (Briana Arellano, Kylie Baumgartner, Macey Austin and Ashley Grzebeniak) all recorded double-digit kills.
Setting It Up
Freshman setter Kristen Fritsche has been the model of consistency for the Miners this year. She has amassed a team-leading 582 assists and 175 digs (second on squad).
Fritsche has earned seven double-doubles this season and has the second-most assists per set (9.07) by a freshman in Conference USA. She had a career match against San Diego State (9/15), when she recorded 54 assists and 11 digs and led the Miners to a 3-2 victory. The setter was an all-tournament selection for the Omaha Challenge and SDSU/USD Challenge.
Setting the Bar
Premier player Macey Austin has already left her mark on the 2018 season. Her 23-kill performance against UIW (Aug. 24) ranks fourth for kills during a single match in Conference USA (four sets). Austin has gotten off on the right foot, posting 15 double-digit kill performances. The outside hitter also ranks seventh in C-USA in kills (245).
Austin has stepped up her production on defense this season. She recorded 50 digs her sophomore season and 42 digs her freshman year. Austin has already surpassed those numbers with 112 on the year. Her skills in all facets of the game helped earn her a spot on the 2018 Borderland Invitational All-Tournament Team. She locked in 43 kills, 4.30 kills per set and 18 digs for the invitational.
Austin On Top
Junior outside hitter Macey Austin found a way to improve in almost every single statistical category during her sophomore campaign. She accumulated career highs in kills (359), total attempts (876), kills per set (3.65) and points (379.0).
Austin’s on the court success garnered her an All-Conference USA second team selection. She also finished ranked ninth in conference for kills last season. The league announced near the beginning of the 2018 campaign that Austin was named to the 2018 C-USA Women’s Volleyball Preseason Team.
Serving The Community
Macey Austin’s excellence is not limited only to the court. For the second straight year Austin received the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal for maintaining a GPA of above a 3.75.
Austin has proven to be an incredible example of an all-around student-athlete, earning the C-USA Spirit of Service Award where she totaled 21.75 hours of community service. She contributed time with the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, UTEP Volleyball Camp and the Game Change Volleyball Camps.
Miners At The Net
Mallory Yost leads the Miner defensive effort at the net in and total blocks (36) and is second on the team in blocks per set (0.82). Yost is not the only Miner protecting the net, Martine Kragholm pitches in a team-high eight solo blocks and ranks second on team with 34 total blocks.
Kristen Fritsche (27), Kylie Baumgartner (24), Cheyenne Jones (23), Serena Patterson (21) and Macey Austin (14) all contribute double-digit blocks to the Miners’ 112 total blocks as a team.
Baumgartner Making Her Mark
Kylie Baumgartner is looking to place her name in the UTEP record books by the end of her final season. Baumgartner ranks third all-time in total block assists (296). She needs six block assists to become second all-time.
Baumgartner is also poised to pass some major milestones in career total blocks. She only needs four total blocks to rate fifth all-time in program history. She is on pace to become only the second player in Miner history to have 300+ block assists and 400+ total blocks in a career. The middle blocker tallied a season-high eight total blocks against UTSA (9/30)