Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics
LUBBOCK – The UTEP Volleyball team (7-6) defeated Houston (6-9) in five sets (20-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-15, 15-13), 3-2, on Saturday morning. The Miners fell to Texas Tech (10-4) in three sets (19-25, 23-25, 17-25) at United Supermarkets Arena later in the day.
The Miners have a winning record in non-conference play for the first time since 2011.
Alex Torres was sound at the libero spot for the Miners, and became the 15th player in program history to join the 30-dig club. She locked in 31 digs in the five-set thriller over the Cougars.
Cheyenne Jones had 17 kills, five blocks and a .429 hitting percentage in the first match versus Houston. Mallory Yost posted 12 kills on a .300 hitting percentage against the Cougars as well.
The Miners had to use a timeout early after falling behind 8-3 in the first set. UTEP battled, but were unable to recover from the early deficit and fell 25-20.
The Orange and Blue found themselves with an 11-8 advantage over the Cougars in the second frame. Houston outscored UTEP 17-8 the rest of the way to claim the set, 25-19, and the two game cushion.
It appeared that the Miners were going to go down in straight sets after an 8-3 run to open the set by the Cougars. However, UTEP had other plans, as it went on an 11-3 run to take a 14-11 lead. The Orange and Blue never looked back and took the frame, 25-23, to force a fourth set.
UTEP imposed its will on Houston in the fourth game. It cruised to a 25-15 victory and erased the two-set deficit, forcing a deciding fifth frame.
The Orange and Blue would carry this momentum all the way through the fifth set, claiming victory, 15-13, over the Cougars.
“Big win for our program, and for our team against Houston. To go down 2-0 against a pretty good and physical team, and win three straight is huge. Really to win those three straight pretty convincingly was great. The fifth set looked close, but we were in control the entire way. I had a lot of confidence in my team after the second set. We made some minor adjustments and tactical changes. We started serving it tougher and passing it better. We got everybody involved, and that was the big difference in the match. We stayed balanced; we set everybody and got offensive production from everyone. This is the first time we have beaten Houston since 2011, and in a lot of ways it shows the growth of our team. We showed some grit, resiliency and we played angrier. Which is what we have been asking them to do lately. Mallory (Yost) was big again. Cheyenne (Jones) had a great match on her birthday against a pretty good opponent and she took full advantage. Izela Alverez went in and played really well. Her and Serena (Patterson) were really important to keep us in system from the back row. It let us get Mallory the ball and she was unstoppable for the second match in a row.”
Versus Texas Tech
The first set was neck-and-neck with score 18-16 in favor of the Red Raiders. Texas Tech would outscore UTEP 7-3 the rest of the way to claim the frame, 25-19.
TTU came out hot with a 6-1 start. The Miners had to use the whole set to battle back into contention. The Orange and Blue finally got within one point at 24-23, but failed to stave off set point and fell, 25-23.
UTEP fell behind 10-5 in the first part of the frame and were unable to recover, falling to Texas Tech 25-17.
Next up, the Miners will begin conference play on Friday, Sept. 27 at Rice.