Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez – UTEP
NORFOLK, Virginia – Junior Yasso Amin busted out three career-highs, 19 kills, 24 points and nine total blocks, to help the UTEP volleyball team defeat the FIU Golden Panthers in a five-set reverse sweep, 3-2 (24-26, 21-25, 25-14, 25-23, 15-8), in the Conference USA Tournament Quarterfinals Friday evening at the ODU Volleyball Center.
Amin was the top scorer for the match producing 19 kills and nine blocks. Paulina Perez Rosas recorded 14 kills and 15 digs for a double-double. Hande Yetis tallied 25 assists while Kristen Fritsche achieved 22.
Alyssa Sianez led the team with 20 digs. Amin (.333) and Perez Rosas (.306) led the team in hitting percentage over .300 among players with at least 10 kills.
“Yasso really carried us,” head coach Ben Wallis said. “I told her the other day in practice, ‘You’re like a stallion that no one wants to put a saddle on because you’re going to buck them off. You’re capable of winning those matches.’ I’m really proud of her performance today.”
The Miners registered a season-high of 15 blocks and racked up seven service aces. The Orange and Blue hit for .244 against FIU outside hitter and C-USA Freshman of the Year, Giada Bianchi.
“I’m proud of our win because it was a grind,” head coach Ben Wallis said. “We’ve been talking all week about what we want to get accomplished. We knew that FIU was an athletic team and they would do things that just would bother us because they played a rogue-style of volleyball.
“It was a team effort,” Wallis said. “We didn’t hit the numbers that we normally hit, but we were still pretty efficient offensively. My team settled in and started playing with a little more joy, which we’ve been searching for. This time of year, it’s hard to find joy, and that helped us get through the match.”
SET ONE, FIU 26-UTEP 24
UTEP started off the set strong with a four-point lead, but FIU answered back with a 5-0 scoring run to take a two-point lead. As the set came to 24-24, FIU’s Giada Bianchi produced two back-to-back kills to win the set.
SET TWO, FIU 25-UTEP 21
Both teams exchanged points to start and a kill by Alianza Darley would tie it up, 11-11. The Golden Panther produced back-to-back points for every single point the Miners scored and would eventually take a 2-0 advantage in the match.
SET THREE, UTEP 25-FIU 14
The Miners were in the same position similar to their last match against NMSU – looking to avoid a sweep. The Orange and Blue whipped out a 6-0 scoring run to jump ahead of the competition. The Golden Panthers were unable to catch up and were outshined by UTEPs impressive scoring performance.
SET FOUR, UTEP 25-FIU 23
Back-to-back errors from FIU set up UTEP with the lead. The Golden Panthers attempted to rally as they tied up the score four times, but were unable to take back the lead. A service ace by Sianez sent the campaign into set point and an attack error by FIU won the set for the Miners, forcing a fifth set.
SET FIVE, UTEP 15-FIU 8
With two-wins a piece and semifinals just 15 points away, UTEP turned up the heat. The Miners produced an 8-1 scoring run. FIU came off its final 3-0 scoring run, but were no match for UTEPs outstanding offense. Back-to-back kills by Kenidy Howard and Perez Rosas sent the Miners into set point, and a service ace by Ryley Frye locked in the campaign’s spot in the semifinals.
“Now we are going to prepare for Western Kentucky,” Wallis said. “I’m excited that we have a chance to play them again and that’s what the goal has been – survive and advance to the next stage and let’s see how we match up with those guys”
Up next, UTEP Volleyball will face off against No. 18 Western Kentucky Saturday (Nov. 20) at 12:30 p.m. MT in the Conference USA Tournament Semifinals at the ODU Volleyball Center. The match will be live streamed on ESPN+, with live stats available.