Photo by Andres Acosta via UTEP Athletics
UTEP volleyball (5-6, 4-4 C-USA) lost in straight sets for the first time this season to Rice (13-3, 12-0 C-USA) (13-25, 25-27, 19-25), 3-0, Monday afternoon in Memorial Gym. It was also the first time the Miners have been swept by an opponent this season.
UTEP had its lowest kill percentage (.045) and kill (29) and assist (27) totals to date this season.
The Miners were up 9-8 when the Owls proceeded to go on a 11-0 run with freshman Izzy Rawlings at the service line. Rice closed out the first set with 15 kills and its highest hitting percentage in a frame in the whole match: .371.
Meanwhile, the Miners hit just .094 in the first set.
UTEP put itself in position to win the second set after evening the score, 24-24, from being down 21-16. Junior setter Kristen Fritsche led a 4-0 run at the service line to take the lead 25-24. Rice Head Coach Genny Volpe made a key substitution to bring junior Tia Grippo to the service line which resulted in two Owl points and the set victory, 27-25.
The Miners committed 12 attack errors and had just six kills in the third and final set, 25-19.
Senior outside hitter Cheyenne Jones led UTEP with nine kills; sophomore outside hitter Alianza Darley added five kills with a team-high .400 attack percentage.
Junior outside hitter Paulina Perez Rosas logged her sixth double-digit dig performance (14) of the season.
UTEP volleyball travels to Ruston, La., to take on Louisiana Tech (1-17, 0-10 C-USA) for its final road trip of the season before the Conference USA Tournament.
The Miners have won their last two outings versus the Bulldogs in three and four sets, respectively.
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