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Home | Tag Archives: miner volleyball

Tag Archives: miner volleyball

UTEP Volleyball earns AVCA Academic Award

For the fourth year in a row, UTEP’s volleyball program has been recognized for academic excellence by earning the USMC/AVCA Team Academic Award.

The award, initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors volleyball teams that maintain a year-long grade-point average of 3.30 on a 4.0 scale or 4.10 on a 5.0 scale.

According to department officials, UTEP Volleyball posted a 3.56 team GPA during the 2019-20 academic year, including a 3.66 GPA just during the spring semester.

In May, the Miners had 17 players named to Conference USA’s Commissioner’s Honor Roll for maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.

Additionally, 10 of those volleyball student-athletes earned the Commissioner’s Academic Medal for a 3.75 or better GPA.

Season tickets for the 2020 season are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (915) 747-UTEP, emailing, or online.

Tickets are just $60 for adults and $35 for youth and gain entry to all home matches.

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter), or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP Volleyball’s Alianza Darley guests on this week’s “Picks Up Podcast”

UTEP volleyball sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Alianza Darley is the guest on this week’s “Picks Up Podcast” with “Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher.

As a freshman last year, Darley payed in 90 sets and 24 matches, while making 10 starts.  She posted the fifth-most kills (132) on the team and led all Miner freshmen in kills.

Darley ranked fourth on the squad in blocks (54.0), turned in three double-digit kill performances and locked in a career-high 12 kills against No. 21 Rice during the first round of the C-USA Tournament.

She has also been named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll for 2020 and earned the  Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal.

Earlier this week, the 2020 UTEP Volleyball home schedule was released and, for the first time, fans can purchase season tickets to ensure that they’ll be there for every exciting moment as the Miners take the floor.

The “Picks Up Podcast,” that airs weekly online, takes an inside look at UTEP Athletics, offering perspectives and analysis not available anywhere else.  Special guests including Miner coaches, staff, student-athletes and alumni.

To go directly to the podcast landing page, click here.

2020 UTEP Volleyball home schedule announced; Season Tickets on sale now

Tuesday morning, UTEP officials released the 2020 Miner Volleyball home schedule and, for the first time, fans can purchase season tickets.

“I’m really excited about our 2020 home slate of matches,” Wallis said.  “We inherited a road-heavy schedule in our first season last year but we performed very well at home, securing top-100 wins over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Marshall and North Texas.  Our roster is much deeper and more athletic this year and I think we have what it takes, with our returning talent and eight new players, to be a force in Conference USA this season.”

UTEP will launch its home slate with its own I-10 Challenge Aug. 28-29 in El Paso.  The Miners will host Tulane, Incarnate Word and New Mexico in the two-day event at the Don Haskins Center.

“We’re really excited to wrap up the four-year I-10 rivalry tournament here in El Paso at the Don Haskins Center opening weekend,” Wallis said.  “We were able to add New Mexico to the field, which is something that (Lobos coach) Jon Newman-Gonchar and I have been pretty adamant about since he got hired last year as well.  We want that I-25 rivalry renewed each season.”

The remainder of the Miners’ home matches will be played at historic Memorial Gym.  The following weekend (Sept. 4-6), UTEP will serve as co-host of the Borderland Invitational with NM State.  The Miners will face off against UT Arlington, Abilene Christian and the arch-rival Aggies.

The Miners will kick off their Conference USA slate on Saturday, Sept. 26 when they host UTSA.  It will mark the first of three straight C-USA home matches with North Texas (Oct. 2) and Rice (Oct. 4) scheduled to come to El Paso the following weekend.

The Miners will return home to host Old Dominion (Oct. 16) and Charlotte (Oct. 18) in a weekend set sandwiched between a pair of road series.

UTEP’s conference home schedule will wrap up the last weekend of October as the Miners will host Florida Atlantic (Oct. 30) and FIU (Nov. 1).

“What I really like about our conference schedule is that we have several of the top teams at home, including UTSA, North Texas and Rice right off the bat,” Wallis said.  “Conference USA is a top-10 volleyball conference so everybody will be tough to beat, but we’re excited to have several of the top teams playing here in El Paso and having to deal with our rowdy fans.  We finished third in the conference in attendance last year and I’m hoping we can get in the top-two this season, especially with our great slate of matches!”

The Miners’ home slate will come to a close on Nov. 24 when they play host to NM State for a second time on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Wallis and company put together the best turnaround by a first-year staff in program history a year ago, as the Miners went from five wins in 2018 to 13 victories in 2019.

Additionally, the Miners advanced to the C-USA Championships for the first time in three seasons, and had their highest finish in the conference standings since the 2012 campaign.

Wallis and the Miners also registered a 6-3 mark in Memorial Gym, their first winning mark in the Sun City in six years.

Wallis and the Miners will enter the 2020 campaign with a more experienced roster.  UTEP returns 12 players who saw action a season ago, including standouts Cheyenne Jones, Irbe Lazda and Serena Patterson.  Jones was a second team All-Conference USA performer last season, and Lazda was one of the top freshmen in the conference prior to sustaining a season-ending injury.

The full 2020 UTEP volleyball schedule will be announced on a later date.

Season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (915) 747-UTEP, emailing, or by going online.

Tickets are just $60 for adults and $35 for youth and gain entry to all 14 home matches.

All seats are general admission.  Single-match ticket prices are $8 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 3-12).  Fans can save 46 percent off the single-match adult prices and 50 percent off the single-match youth prices by purchasing a season ticket.

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter), or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

2020 UTEP Volleyball Home Schedule

Date                Opponent                                Location                                  Time

Aug. 28            TULANE ^                                Don Haskins Center                10 a.m.

                        INCARNATE WORD ^              Don Haskins Center                4:30 p.m.

Aug. 29            NEW MEXICO ^                       Don Haskins Center                3 p.m.

Sept. 4             UT ARLINGTON#                     Memorial Gym                        10 a.m.

                        ABILENE CHRISTIAN#             Memorial Gym                        5 p.m.

Sept. 6             NM STATE#                             Memorial Gym                        3 p.m.

Sept. 26           UTSA*                                     Memorial Gym                        1 p.m.

Oct. 2              NORTH TEXAS*                       Memorial Gym                        6 p.m.

Oct. 4              RICE*                                       Memorial Gym                        12 p.m.

Oct. 16            OLD DOMINION*                    Memorial Gym                        6 p.m.

Oct. 18            CHARLOTTE*                          Memorial Gym                        12 p.m.

Oct. 30            FLORIDA ATLANTIC*               Memorial Gym                        6 p.m.

Nov. 1              FIU*                                        Memorial Gym                        12 p.m.

Nov. 24            NM STATE                               Memorial Gym                        1 p.m.


All times MT

* Indicates C-USA match

^ I-10 Challenge

# Borderland Invitational

UTEP’s Arellano earns Jim Castañeda Postgraduate Scholarship

UTEP Volleyball’s Briana Arellano was named a 2020 Jim Castañeda Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, it was announced by Conference USA on Thursday.

The senior is one of 14 student-athletes to receive this honor. The 12th annual award is named in honor of Dr. Jim Castañeda who served Rice for 46 years as an educator, coach and Faculty Athletics Representative before he passed away in 2008.

Every season, C-USA grants the $4,000 scholarship to distinguished graduates selected by the league’s Faculty Athletics Representatives and approved by the Board of Directors.

Arellano is a four-time C-USA Honor Roll selection and has been awarded the Commissioner’s Academic Medal three times in her time with the Miners. The El Paso native earned her undergraduate degree in biology this past December and is now planning to pursue a career in occupational therapy.

Over the course of her four-year career with the Miners, Arellano played in 105 matches, while starting 65 of those contests for UTEP. She saw action in 339 sets in four seasons and was named a team captain as a junior in 2018.

On the court, she recorded 422 kills and tallied 630 digs in her UTEP career, while Arellano also led the Miners with 28 aces during her sophomore campaign in 2017.

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP Athletics announces student-athlete re-entry plan; Phased voluntary workouts begin June 15

UTEP student-athletes will return to campus for voluntary workouts in phases beginning on June 15, Director of Athletics Jim Senter announced on Thursday.

“It is important for us to bring student-athletes back to campus in a thoughtful and deliberate fashion, one that ensures we are following best practices and meeting CDC guidelines for the sake of everyone’s health and safety,” Senter said.  “We know that until a vaccine is developed, we will have to live with the virus and must learn to mitigate the risk of catching it.  Bringing Miner student-athletes back to campus is a huge step toward achieving some sense of normalcy.”

The first group of student-athletes returning to campus for voluntary workouts on June 15 will represent football and will number approximately 45.

The football numbers will gradually increase during the months of June and July.

Limited numbers of student-athletes from cross country, soccer and volleyball will be integrated for voluntary workouts beginning the week of June 22.  Limited numbers of student-athletes from men’s and women’s basketball and track and field will be integrated for voluntary workouts beginning the week of June 29.

Student-athletes from all other sports will be eligible to return to campus for voluntary workouts starting the week of July 6.

Prior to returning to campus, all student-athletes will need to complete an online questionnaire asking if they have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms over the last three months.  All student-athletes will also need to undergo a physical on campus before beginning voluntary workouts.

The Athletics Executive Team has been working with head coaches, Sports Medicine Staff and Strength and Conditioning Staff to perform an analysis of all facilities and determine organization of voluntary workouts including student-athlete ingress/egress, maximum capacity per area to ensure that social distancing is being practiced, and other safety protocols.

All student-athletes will undergo a daily wellness screening prior to entering athletics facilities, at which time their temperature will be taken and they will be asked recommended medical questions.

Student-athletes who pass the screening will receive a different colored bracelet each day that they will need to wear to gain access to the facility.

Student-athletes will be split into groups to ensure that social distancing is being practiced at all times.  Student-athletes will be required to wear a face mask when inside all athletics facilities.  Student-athletes will not need to wear a face mask for outdoor workouts provided social distancing is being practiced.

All facilities will be marked with signage to specify COVID-19 symptoms, how to guard against contracting the virus, social distancing protocols, entrance and exit points.  Access to the training room and coaches’ offices will be by appointment only and locker room access will be limited to small groups for short periods of time.

Social distancing will be practiced in all areas, including the weight room.

While in the weight room, student-athletes will be required to bring their own water bottle and will not share with others.  All strength and conditioning voluntary workouts will limit the sharing of equipment, and all equipment will be sanitized following each use.

Equipment managers will wash face masks daily following voluntary workouts.  Each student-athlete will receive two face masks, one for the day’s workout and the other for the next day’s workout.  All facilities will be cleaned/sanitized following the departure of each group of student-athletes.

Any student-athlete who is ill and/or exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 is required to refrain from entering athletics facilities and contact Sports Medicine personnel immediately for testing.

All student-athletes or staff who test positive for COVID-19, along with those they have come into immediate contact with, will be subject to mandatory quarantine based on CDC guidelines.

Per NCAA rules, only strength and conditioning coaches and Sports Medicine personnel (athletic trainers) are permitted to observe voluntary workouts.  It is impermissible for sports coaches and staff, as well as media members, to attend voluntary workouts.

UTEP Volleyball Year in Review

The 2019 UTEP Volleyball campaign began with a first-year coaching staff looking to spark a turnaround that Miners fans quickly learned would occur much faster than expected.

Head coach Ben Wallis and Co. put together the best turnaround by a first-year staff in program history by taking the Miners from a five-win season in 2018 to a win total of 13 matches in 2019.

The Orange and Blue experienced a season unlike any in quite some time. The Miners made the conference tournament for the first time in three seasons, and had their highest finish in the conference standings since the 2012 campaign.

“In a number of ways, I feel like our city, our administration, university, support staff, families and people who were around the program that knew what we were facing have been unbelievably supportive,” Wallis said. “When I look at our season, I am very pleased and proud of what we did with this group, considering the state of the program when we took over. To get to 13 wins against the schedule that we had is a success from where our program started.

“I am proud of what we put out there and the way we reshaped our program. We turned this team in to a team that expects to win and not just keep it close. At one point against Rice in the conference tournament, I looked at my players in a timeout and I saw a look in their eyes that they knew they could win.”

Additionally, UTEP also made a monster leap in the national RPI rankings. It was ranked 249 at the end of last season out of over 330 teams. The 2019 season saw a jump of more than 100 spots into the top 150.

The Miners won seven matches in non-conference play, which was one more than the last two seasons combined. This marked the first time the program posted a non-conference record above .500 since 2011.

Wallis and the Miners also boasted a winning record at home with a 6-3 mark in historic Memorial Gym. The 6-3 record on their home floor was the first winning record in the Sun City since 2013 when UTEP posted an identical .667 home winning percentage.

“Our home attendance was something I was most proud of this season,” Wallis noted. “Our home attendance moved us into third in the conference in average attendance. That makes me extremely proud to know that in the better part of six months we were able to get the city of El Paso excited about our team. Having everyone there also helped us win some games. We went 6-3 at home and gave people major issues when they played here. We beat two Top 100 teams on our home floor with a roster of kids with very little experience in those games. I am hopeful that this will continue to be a tough place for teams to play in the future.”

Individually, Cheyenne Jones made significant improvements to her game under Wallis. The junior became just the fifth player in UTEP history to earn second team All-Conference USA accolades. Over the course of the 2019 season, Jones posted career highs in kills (259), hitting percentage (.242), total blocks (74) and points (303).

UTEP’s Mallory Yost also enjoyed a career season, posting personal bests in kills (198) and total blocks (90), while the junior also increased her hitting percentage by hitting .324 for the year.

The Miners also made history with the number of weekly awards handed out by the conference office. Irbe Lazda became the first player in program history to be named C-USA Freshman of the Week, while Serena Patterson was the first C-USA Offensive Player of the Week from UTEP since 2013.

“To be able to get Cheyenne on the all-conference team, and to have Serena and Irbe win conference player of the week was great,” Wallis stated. “We had several all-tournament team participants, and getting into seventh place in the conference after being 12th last year shows a significant amount of improvement.”

During the conference tournament, the Miners took a set off the No. 21 team in the nation in the Rice Owls. It marked the first set victory over a ranked opponent since 2001.

Looking ahead to the 2020 campaign, Wallis and the Miners will enter the season with a more experienced roster as UTEP returns 12 players who saw action on the floor a season ago, including Jones, Lazda and Patterson.

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics at

Picks Up Podcast turns to Miner Volleyball, talks with Coach Ben Wallis

The “Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher visits with UTEP Volleyball Coach Ben Wallis in this week’s episode of the “Picks Up Podcast.”

This week, Coach Wallis reviews the Miners’ much-improved 2019 campaign and discusses the team’s prospects for 2020.

The “Picks Up Podcast” airs weekly on, with special guests including Miner coaches, staff, student-athletes and alumni.

The “Picks Up Podcast” takes an inside look at UTEP Athletics, offering perspectives and analysis not available anywhere else.

To go directly to the podcast landing page, click here.

UTEP Volleyball inks Ava Palm to Signing Class

Head coach Ben Wallis and UTEP volleyball have announced the addition of Ava Palm, an outside hitter from Bakersfield High School in California, to the 2020 signing class.

“My staff and I are thrilled to receive the commitment from Ava,” Wallis said of the latest addition to the signing class. “She is a very skilled and talented outside hitter that has been playing some high-level volleyball for Jamba VBC in central California. She has played for some really good club coaches and already has a skill set that will allow for her to help us on either pin right away in 2020.”

Palm prepped at Bakersfield High School where she totaled more than 1,000 kills, 192 blocks and 161 service aces over four years. She also tallied 756 digs and nearly a 40 percent hitting percentage during her prep days.

As a senior at Bakersfield, Palm ranked first in hitting percentage in the South West Yosemite League, third in the California Central Section and seventh overall in California’s Division I.

“She is the prototypical outside hitter recruit that has lots of tools,” Wallis said. “She is long, fast, high, can ball handle already and is a solid blocker with range and arm speed as an attacker. The thing that sold me on her, however, was that she is very competitive and wants the ball all the time. Front row and back row, she is ready to attack and has the skill to do it already. She is going to have a small adjustment to the collegiate game physically, but she is going to grow a lot in the weight room once she gets here on campus.”

Palm served as a four-year starter and two-time captain in high school, while she was twice named MVP and a three-time SWYL First Team All-League recipient. She earned First Team All-Area Central Section honors twice at Bakersfield and was a KHSD “Achieve” Inaugural First Team selection.

“Ava was in the running for selection in the prep volleyball ‘Soph 79’ as a 10th grader, but has flown under the radar in recruiting since then, so we are ecstatic to get a commitment from a skilled athlete like this that is normally not available this late in the process,” Wallis continued. “Folks in El Paso are going to love watching her play as she has a great personality and spirit to go along with her talent.”

Palm played her club volleyball for Club Jamba in Bakersfield.

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP Volleyball Signs Hula Crisostomo

Head coach Ben Wallis and UTEP volleyball continue gearing up for the upcoming season, announcing the signing of Ha’ahulakaleikaimanapo’aikalakahikikapuiholaneikeku’ina “Hula” Crisostomo, a defensive specialist/libero from Honolulu, Hawaii.

“We are so jacked up that Hula is going to join our program in the Fall of 2020,” Coach Wallis said. “Not only was she a first team All-American as a volleyball player, but she’s a stud as a leader. She is the type of person and soldier that we need here in El Paso to continue to help push our program in the right direction.”

Crisostomo will be joining the Miners following her two-year stint at New Mexico Military Institute. For the 2019-20 season at NMMI, she was ranked first in the NJCAA for digs with a total of 921 as well as third for her average of digs per set, 6.22. In conference play she accumulated 286 digs and 6.65 D/S.

“One of the main reasons we recruited her is because of her ability to dig balls at an extremely high level,” Wallis stated. “She led junior college in digs per set, and will immediately impact our team defensively with her ability to pursue volleyballs and keep them off the floor. She can make everyone around her better, and make them play harder. We get to now see a lineup where we could potentially run her out there with Alex Torres, who as a sophomore, was one of the best receiving liberos in the conference. Now we have a formidable duo that will make life hard for our opponents in 2020.”

In 2019, Crisostomo was named NJCAA Player of the Week (Sept. 2-8) for Region V.  Throughout her two-year experience at NMMI, Hula managed to increase her total digs by 267 from her freshman to sophomore year.

Previous to NMMI, Crisostomo was a part of Ka Ulukoa Volleyball Institute and Moanalua High School in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Her coach at NMMI couldn’t speak more highly of Hula,” Wallis explained. “She consistently talked about her being one of the best leaders she has ever coached, and we need that in our program. We were lucky enough to pull Hula away fro some other pretty good division I programs, and I know El Paso volleyball fans are going to love watching her play.”

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP Volleyball announces signing of Marina Sanchez

UTEP volleyball head coach Ben Wallis announced the signing of Marina Sanchez on Wednesday morning.

“We’re really excited to get Marina Sanchez on board in 2020,” Wallis said. “She is an El Paso girl and came to a little Miners volleyball camp several years ago and so it’s a really special story for her to be able to come full circle and now be committed to play division I volleyball for the university she grew up watching and cheering for. Marina will be a great addition to our new wave of athletic Miner recruits. She’s going to be added to a list of athletic highflying kids with arm speed that will be walking the streets of UTEP now. We’re collecting athlete after athlete that will not only make practice more competitive, but our depth at every position is growing because of the young additions of players like Marina.”

Sanchez is a 5’11 senior at Presidio high school, and she is a middle blocker and outside hitter. While at Presidio she helped her team to a perfect district record of 7-0. She was named the district MVP, and led her team to a bi-district championship.

Before her senior year at Presidio high school, Sanchez played for Fabens high school in El Paso, Texas. During her junior campaign she led her squad to a 34-2 record, a district title and a deep run into the state playoffs.

In her final year at Fabens she racked up 155 kills and 4.1 kills per set on a .439 hitting percentage. She was also a menace on defense, accumulating 23 solo blocks. Sanchez was named to the first team all-district squad.

Coach Wallis is impressed by Sanchez’s athletic acumen, but he’s also impressed by her ability to learn and respectful nature.

“Marina is a special talent. She’s long, wiry, fast off the floor and has a big arm,” Wallis explained. “She can play either antenna and is working hard at learning the pass and defend stuff in order to be a six-rotation player soon. She has been a middle much of her life but shows a knack for being able to hit highballs already. She was an exceptional learner at camp this summer and is the most respectful young lady with constant, “yes sir and no sir” after every instructional piece.”

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP Volleyball announces Spring Camps

UTEP Volleyball and head coach Ben Wallis unveil two spring camp offerings for El Paso and the surrounding areas.

“We are really looking forward to hosting these spring clinics and camps this year,” coach Wallis said. “This is the first time in my career we have ever done them. We thought we would start offering something for our El Paso faithful that have already been emailing us and asking us about coming to camp. We had a great lineup and following last summer, and we wanted to get a couple of opportunities for our El Paso and Las Cruces people to come out and be here for our spring clinics and camps.”

The first camp of the spring will be a comprehensive skill camp that will teach, train and develop the skill of serving for volleyball in a fun and competitive environment.

Players will be trained in all areas of the serve, standing float, jump float, topspin, short serve and strategies behind the serve. Each skill will be broken down very specifically to ensure development and learning.

This serving camp will be offered on March 22 and April 5, from 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., at Memorial Gym. The cost of this one-day clinic is $55 per participant, and is open to any child from the ages of 7-18 years old.

The second camp offering during the spring will be a comprehensive all-skill camp that will teach, train and develop every skill of the sport of volleyball in a fun and competitive environment. Players will be trained in all aspects of the sport, and each skill will be broken down very specifically to ensure development and learning.

This all-skill camp will be offered on March 22 and April 5, from 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., at Memorial Gym. The cost of this clinic is $99 per participant, and is open to any child elementary to middle school aged.

“We will have our UTEP staff and players working with these guys in March and April,” coach Wallis said. “We are looking forward to getting people out and training them up out here in Memorial Gym.”

UTEP officials add that these camps are open to and all entrants, limited only by number, grade level and/or gender.

Interested participants can visit the UTEP camp page to sign up; for any questions or concerns, contact assistant coach/camp director Nikola Petrovic via email at

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP Volleyball plays host to Marshall

The UTEP volleyball team (9-11, 2-5) will play host to Marshall (12-8, 3-4) on Friday, October 25 at 6 p.m. MT at Memorial Gym.

This match is the annual “Pink Out” game for the Miners. Tickets are just $3 if you attend the match wearing pink.  Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.

The Thundering Herd are coming to the Sun City on a four-match losing streak. Three of those losses have come against top teams in Conference USA (Rice, WKU and North Texas), and the other was against Middle Tennessee. Ciara Debell has been the workhorse on the offensive end with 286 kills this season. Destiny Leon has amassed 100 blocks to lead the Marshall defense.

The Orange and Blue won five matches all of last season. They have already surpassed that mark with nine victories. UTEP has also matched the Conference win total from 2018 (two) only seven games into the C-USA schedule.

During 2018 the Miners were victorious in only one match in Memorial Gym, and in 2019 they have three.

Redshirt freshman Kenidy Howard has made great use of her time on the floor at middle blocker. Ten matches ago Howard began to see major playing time. Since then she is leading the team with 41 total blocks and 1.11 blocks per set.

Sophomore Serena Patterson paces the team in kills with 191. This is a new career high for the outside hitter, who posted 165 last season. She is also up to a .188 hitting percentage, which is .080 points higher than her 2018 mark.

The Miners have posted a .380 hitting % or higher on two different occasions this year. The first was against Montana (.393), and the most recent coming versus LA Tech (.381). Prior to these two matches, the last time this happened for UTEP was on August 26, 2011 against Southern (.412).

Cheyenne Jones and Serena Patterson were nearly unstoppable in the sweep against LA Tech. Jones had 14 kills on a .545 hitting clip, and Patterson posted 13 kills and a .550 hitting percentage. This efficiency helped propel the Miners to a .381 hitting percentage as a team, and their first conference victory of the year.

The match will be live streamed at and live stats will be available as well.

Miners travel to Lubbock for Red Raider Classic

UTEP volleyball (5-5) will hit the road to Lubbock, Texas, to play three matches this weekend at the Red Raider Classic, hosted by Texas Tech.

The Orange and Blue will begin the weekend versus UIW (4-7), on Friday at 2 p.m. MT. The Miners and Cardinals squared off earlier this year at the I-10 Challenge in Lafayette, La.

UTEP bested UIW in five sets, with Cheyenne Jones posting a career-high 24 kills on a .396 hitting clip. Bethany Clapp is leading the Cardinals with 117 kills and 3.25 kills per set. UIW collected two victories this past weekend over NIU (3-0) and Niagara (3-1).

The Miners will play two matches on Saturday. The first of which will be against Houston (5-7) at 10 a.m. MT.

Abbie Jackson has carried the majority of the workload on offense for UH. She has amassed 180 kills with 4.50 kills per set this season. Rachel Tullos has been a beast at the net with 43 blocks on the year already. Since opening weekend the Cougars are 4-3 after starting the season 0-4.

Later that day, the Miners will lock up with host-school Texas Tech at 6 p.m. MT. The Red Raiders have been reliant on the dominance of senior Emily Hill. Hill has already accumulated 210 kills this season with 5.00 kills per set. Texas Tech has locked in seven wins this year, and is looking to protect its home court at the Red Raider Classic.

Each match will have live stats on the Texas Tech home website

Only the match versus the Red Raiders will be live streamed this weekend.

The Orange and Blue are coming off of a sweep against Montana where Serena Patterson led the way with 10 kills on a .412 hitting percentage.

With the victory over the Grizzlies, UTEP has now matched last year’s win total, only 10 matches into the season. The last time the Miners had a .500 winning percentage 10 games into the season was during the 2013 campaign.

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics at

HP Sports In Depth: UTEP Volleyball embraces El Paso

Ben Wallis, in his first year leading UTEP volleyball, has already instilled a culture that is bringing the Sun City and Wallis’s squad together. The Miners have accumulated 132 hours of community service, which leads all teams at UTEP.

The team and coaching staff understand the importance of building these relationships in the community.

“It is near the top of the list in things, other than winning, that we have to do this year,” Wallis said. “The more the people know us, the more they have a personal relationship with our players, the more they are going to want to come out and cheer us on.”

After the Miners’ intra squad scrimmage last week, coach Wallis and the team had the opportunity to see first hand what those relationships can yield.

“We had a young lady on social media that showed the ball she got from Alex Torres, and posted that she is forever a Miner fan because of it. Literally Alex changed that kid’s life just by throwing her a ball, and she was stoked about it.”

Wallis wants moments like Torres and the little girl to become a regular occurrence for his team.

“Hopefully that becomes something that is engrained in our culture and engrained in our program from here on out.”

The Miners have lofty goals of amassing over 600 hours of community service by year’s end. They are looking to accomplish this in a multitude of ways. One of which is getting more involved at the children’s hospital. This mission holds personal significance for Wallis.

“There is a young boy that his parents and I are close,” Wallis recounted. “He comes down every other week to the children’s hospital because he has leukemia. I have told them on a number of occasions that I want to know when he’s coming down next, because I want to take our team over there.”

Another aspect will be getting involved with GameChangers Clinics, which helps provide underprivileged youth with athletic training.

“It is a great avenue for people that don’t have money,” Wallis explained. “It is for those who can’t play club volleyball, to be able to come out to some of the clinics. We want to get the young people in our city excited about volleyball and learn, whether its boys or girls it doesn’t matter. It is important to me to get involved with the youth in the community.”

Although there are 10 new players and a first-year coaching staff, this team is taking to the El Paso community with ease.

“Some of the veterans that have been here are starting to understand the need to reach out more,” Wallis said. “The young people have been great. They understand, and everyone is starting to get on the same page.”

The Sun City has already seen UTEP Volleyball impact the lives of its youth. The Wallis era promises to continue to foster a culture that builds relationships and builds the sport of volleyball in El Paso.

Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics

Brandon Michael Collins – UTEP

HP Sports In Depth: Miner Volleyball Heads to Sunshine State

The UTEP Volleyball team will do a tour of Florida this weekend when they travel to the Sunshine State take on FIU and Florida Atlantic in the final Conference USA road trip of the season.

The Miners (5-19, 2-9 C-USA) will take on the Panthers (3-14, 2-8 C-USA) on Friday at 5 p.m. MT in Miami and close out with a 10 a.m. MT Sunday match up against the Owls (15-7, 6-4 C-USA) in Boca Raton.

Though they split last weekend’s home matches, the highlight was the Miners blanking Middle Tennessee for their second conference win and sweep of the season.  The Miners did not allow the Blue Raiders to reach 20 points in any set, taking the match 25-19, 25-16 and 25-14 on Senior Day for UTEP upperclassmen Amanda King and Dania Orozco.

On Friday, they kept pace, but fell to LA Tech 3-1. The Miners stopped a potential sweep by the Lady Techsters by getting a 25-23 set three win, but LA Tech took the match 25-22, 25-29, 23-25, 25-22 to down the Orange and Blue.

The UTEP offense was manned by Macey Austin, Mallory Yost and Kylie Baumgartner with 25, 20, and 13 kills respectively,  on the weekend while defensive efforts were run by Ashley Grzebeniak with 20 digs, as well as Yost and Baumgartner with a combined 17 blocks.

The Miners will be on the hunt for their third and fourth conference wins and competing to return to the Conference USA Tournament. The Panthers are 10th in league standings while the Owls are fifth. Last season, the Miners beat both Florida schools to help them make the tournament.

Both of UTEP’s weekend matches in Florida will be live streamed through, which requires a paid subscription.


FIU Scouting Report

Series: Friday’s match will mark the fifth meeting between FIU and UTEP, with the Miners holding the 3-1 advantage in the all-time series. They first met in 2013 in Memorial Gym, with the Miners blanking the Panthers 3-0. They last met in 2016, where UTEP again took the match in Memorial Gym 3-2. The Panthers are 3-14 overall and 2-8 in league play.

PANTHER Notables

FIU is coming off a three set win against Bethune-Cookman (25-13, 25-23, 25-19) to improve their record to 9-19 overall, 3-11 in Conference USA. Senior Taija Thomas led the Panthers offense with a career-high 18 kills (.667) with no errors and chipped in with two blocks. Behind Thomas was sophomore Sidney Henderson clinching a career-high in kills with 13.

FIU hit a season-best .353 in the match against BCU. The Panthers also recorded a 73 percent side-out mark during the showing. On the defensive side, junior Margherita Bianchin and sophomore libero Helene Thelle led the team with 13 and 11 digs, respectively.

The Panthers are ranked fourth in C-USA for digs with 920 (14.84), while sophomore Thelle is ranked fifth in the league with 228 (3.68).


Series: Sunday’s match will be the fifth meeting between the Owls and Miners. Both will be playing for the all-time series lead, which is currently tied 2-2. They first met in 2013 in El Paso, when the Miners swept the Owls.

They last met in 2016, where UTEP took the 3-2 win in Memorial Gym. The Owls are 15-7 overall and 6-4 in C-USA play.


FAU clinched its fifth-consecutive win after defeating Marshall in three-straight sets (25-15, 25-20, 25-23) to improve to a 6-4 record in Conference USA and a 15-7 overall record. Freshman Sydney Nemtuda led the Owls offensively with 18 kills and adding three blocks. Alongside Nemtuda was junior Abbi Reid, who registered 10 kills and two blocks to secure the win.

Meanwhile on the defensive side, junior libero Alex Cardona tallied 14 digs to lead the team. Cardona is ranked third in C-USA for digs with 317 (4.17). Setter Ivone Martinez dished out 43 assists and 11 digs to notch her eight double-double of the season.

Martinez is ranked as the C-USA leader in assists with 866 (12.74) to help facilitate the Owls’ attack and lead them to a pair of sweeps against FIU and Marshall. Sophomore outside hitter Sigourney Kame is also ranked amongst the top players in the league (third) with 294 kills (3.92) this season. FAU not only leads C-USA in kills with 1,157 (15.03), but also rates first in assists with a 14.42 percentage.


After not allowing Middle Tennessee to score 20 points in any frame, the Miners earned their second sweep of the season, making quick work of the Blue Raiders 25-19, 25-16, 25-14 in Memorial Gym. The team’s last sweep came on Sept. 9 against Delaware State during the Borderland Invitational. UTEP’s hard-hitting offense coupled with an effective defensive effort helped them to the win.

Mallory Yost and Macey Austin paced the UTEP offensive with nine kills each while Cheyenne Jones notched seven kills at a .500 clip.

Senior Amanda King dished out 32 assists to set up the offense. Defensively, Ashley Grzebeniak led the team with nine digs, while Briana Arellano added eight of her own. Kylie Baumgartner was a force at the net, notching the team’s lone solo block while also teaming up for four block assists to stop the Blue Raider offense and keep them at a .080 hitting percentage.


A third set comeback was highlighted by a combined 10 kills from Macey Austin, Briana Arellano and Kylie Baumgartner for a 25-23 set victory, but the Miners fell to LA Tech in four sets on Friday at Memorial Gym. The Lady Techsters took sets one and two (25-22, 25-19) before the Miners got the third set victory from six kills from Austin and three apiece from Arellano and Baumgartner. LA Tech would go on to take set four (25-22) and the match 3-1.

Austin earned her 10th double-digit kill match in a row after hammering 16 kills to lead the team, while freshman Mallory Yost was close behind her with 11 kills of her own. Yost also had a team-high five blocks, including a solo block, and a career-high four digs.

Arellano and Baumgartner each had eight kills, while Arellano also recorded eight digs and two service aces and Baumgartner tallied four block assists. Amanda King notched 38 assists and Ashley

Grzebeniak paced the Miner defense with 11 digs. Dania Orozco led the team with three service aces and picked up five digs.


Rookie Mallory Yost and sophomore Macey Austin paced the UTEP offensive in their team’s rout of Middle Tennessee with nine kills each. Yost was hitting at a blistering .500 clip, while Austin, who was held to single-digit kills for the first time since Sept. 19, was hitting at a .400 percentage.

Cheyenne Jones also put in work for the offense, notching seven kills at a .500 clip. The Miners hit at their second season-best percentage of .338 with 36 kills and only ten errors, while the Blue Raiders hit at a .080 percentage. Austin continues to lead the Miner offense this season, breaking the 300-kill mark after posting 25 kills on the weekend for a season total of 315. Jones is second on the list with 167.

As a team, the Miners have totaled 1,023 kills on the season.


UTEP will return to Florida for the first time since 2015, when they dropped both matches against FIU and Florida Atlantic in three sets. When the Florida conference schools came to the Lone Star State last season, the Miners notched five set victories over both teams in Memorial Gym.


UTEP broke the century mark for aces recorded with 110 this season. Briana Arellano paces the Miners with 24 service aces, while Niki Cebak is close behind with 22 this season.

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