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Home | Tag Archives: miners volleyball

Tag Archives: miners volleyball

UTEP Volleyball travels to Montana for three matches

UTEP volleyball (4-3) will hit the road to Missoula, Mont., to play three matches this weekend at the Farmer’s State Bank Invitational, hosted by Montana.

The Miners will kick off the invitational with a match against CSU Bakersfield (1-5) at 10 a.m. MT on Friday. Later that day, the Orange and Blue will play Montana State (2-4) at 4 p.m. MT.

To cap off UTEP’s trip up north, it will play the hosting school, Montana (0-6), on Saturday at 12 p.m. MT.

Each match will have live stats at, and the games will be live streamed at either, or at on channel 537.

The Roadrunners have posted a 1-5 record to begin their 2019 campaign. They are led by Brooke Boiseau, who has 55 kills and 2.29 kills per set this season. Boiseau also paces CSUB in blocks with 23. Senior Sidney Wicks leads the squad in assists (119), posting 5.17 per set.

Montana State has a 2-4 record entering the third week of play. Setter Allie Lynch has been effective, accumulating 230 assists and 9.58 assists per set in her junior year. Hannah Scott is on the other end of most of those assists with 69 kills to her stat line.

Montana is 0-6 this year, and has yet to win a set. They are led by freshman Amethyst Harper in the kills department with 41. Redshirt freshman Casey Stites holds the lead in assists with 127.

Junior Cheyenne Jones will have the opportunity to play in her home city of Missoula, Mont., for the first time since her high school days. Jones leads the Miners in kills (68), and is second on the squad in blocks (26). The Missoula native was named UTEP Student-Athlete of the Week earlier this season due to her dominance in the first weekend of play.

Irbe Lazda became the first player in program history to be named Conference USA Freshman of the Week last weekend. Against Texas A&M-CC she had 16 kills, and recorded the second highest hitting percentage (.700) in a five-set match in the UTEP record books. The Latvian also posted 20 blocks in 18 sets played at the Borderland Invitational.

UTEP volleyball has officially been ushered into the Ben Wallis era. The Miners are enjoying their best start to a season since 2011, and are only one win away from matching last year’s win total.

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

UTEP Volleyball’s Irbe Lazda Earns C-USA Freshman of the Week Honors

Irbe Lazda was awarded Conference USA Freshman of the Week, the league office announced Monday afternoon.

“Really excited that the conference has recognized Irbe’s (Lazda) accomplishments this past week,” UTEP Head Coach Ben Wallis said. “She is a joy to coach, a quiet giant and she’s only going to get better for us. She is really starting to learn how to score. Her confidence is growing for us in that area. The defensive stuff is the hardest part for middle blockers at the college volleyball level, but she is going to continue to get better at that as the season progresses.”

This is the first ever C-USA Freshman of the week honor in program history.

Lazda had a historic performance in a comeback victory over Texas A&M-CC with 16 kills on a .700 hitting percentage. That hitting percentage ranks second in the UTEP record books for a five-set match.

Against Coppin State, the Latvian was dominant at the net with six blocks in a clean sweep of the Eagles. She also posted six blocks in the five-set thriller versus Pacific.

Lazda finished the weekend with 33 kills, 19 blocks and seven service aces.

This is not only the first C-USA Freshman of the Week in school history, but also the first player of the week honor since 2016 (Kylie Baumgartner – 11/7/16) for any UTEP volleyball player.

UTEP Battles NM State, Comes Up Short 3-2

First-year UTEP Head Coach Ben Wallis faced his former team as his current team fought tooth and nail with its rival.

However, NM State found ways to tally points and overcome a pair of deficits (1-0, 2-1) to defeat UTEP, 3-2 (25-20, 16-25, 25-17, 15-25, 10-15), on Sunday afternoon in the Pan Am Center on the final day of the co-hosted Borderland Invitational.

The Miners (4-3) fell in their second consecutive match, while the Aggies improved to 6-0.

Mallory Yost converted 47.1 percent of her attacks into nine kills with only one error, while Serena Patterson paced the team with 12 kills. Irbe Lazda added eight kills while Alianza Darley and Cheyenne Jones recorded seven apiece. Kristen Frische led the way with 19 assists and Syenna Masaki set up 18 assists.

NM State, after entering the contest 15-0 in sets, fell in its first of the young season, 25-20, to UTEP. The Miners won their first set against the Aggies for the first time since the 2016 season.

The Miners jumped out to a 4-1 lead during the first set off a kill from Anamarija Mikovic. NM State would answer with a 6-3 run to tie the set 7-7. After going back and forth heading to a 10-10 tie, the Miners tallied the next four points. Yost converted on an attack, Jones hit on a block solo and a pair of attack errors put up 14-10, forcing the Aggies to take a timeout.

After the Aggies responded with a pair of points to get within two (14-12), UTEP went on a 5-2 run to take a 19-14 lead, capped by Jones’s third kill of the set from an assist from Masaki. Following that, a six-point lead (20-14) was tallied as Lazda recorded a kill.

NM State came up with a pair of points, making the count 20-16, but UTEP would score five of the next nine points to win the first set 25-20. A service error started the run, while it was capped by a Yost kill, her fifth early in the match.

The point came off Masaki’s seventh assist of the set.

NM State wouldn’t go down easy though, tying the match 1-1. The Aggies raced out to a 16-10 lead. Earlier in the set, UTEP got within two points (9-7) after a kill by Patterson from Fritsche.

However, the Aggies took another six-point advantage (18-12) off a kill by Cat Kelly. After UTEP tallied two consecutive points to get within five (21-16), Aggies used a 4-0 run to fight off the Miners for 25-16 victory.

The third set went neck and neck during the first 14 points as the rivals would be tied 7-7. UTEP started an 11-6 run off a service error, while a service ace by Masaki put the Miners up 18-13.

Following that, a pair of attack errors by Kelly and a block assist by Jones gave the Miners a commanding 24-15 lead. Aggies recorded the next two points, but a service error clinched the win for the Miners, 25-15, and a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Aggies would respond again in a big way, as they took a 7-1 lead to start the fourth set. An attack error started a UTEP run and a Patterson block solo got her squad within a point (8-7).

The Miners then tied the set 12-12 when Brianna Arellano connected on a kill off a set from Fritsche. But the Aggies’ Kelly recorded a service ace to up her team up 17-13. The Miners couldn’t recover, falling in the set 25-15 as Aggies would tie the match 2-2.

NM State took an early 4-0 lead in the fifth and final set. A service error put the Miners on the board, while Jones converted on a kill from an assist by Masaki to get within a pair of points (4-2).

The two squad traded points before a Lazda kill and attack error put UTEP within a point, down 7-6. But a block assist by Lia Mosher and Julianna Salanoa put the Aggies up 13-10, as they took the set 15-10.

Up next,  UTEP will compete at the Montana Invitational in Missoula, Mont. The Miners will open against Cal State Bakersfield Friday, Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. MT. Later that day, the Orange and Blue will take on Montana State at 4 p.m.

The weekend will end against host Montana Sept. 14 at noon.

Video+Story: UTEP Volleyball’s eight El Paso natives exemplify the meaning of El Paso Strong

UTEP Volleyball is under new direction with first-year head coach Ben Wallis. During the offseason, he was hard at work to reshape the roster in preparation for the 2019 season.

As the commits rolled in it became apparent that Wallis wanted to keep the hometown talent within the city limits, adding six El Paso natives to the squad.

“We want the best players in the city on our team competing and contributing,” Wallis explained. “We want people to feel connected to the players.”

Jessica Landeros (Chapin HS), Priscilla Sanchez (El Paso HS), Sofia Sifuentes (Coronado HS), Sophia Chacon (Franklin HS), Abigail Padilla (Coronado HS), and Emily Perez (El Paso HS) would all be joining the inaugural recruiting class of Wallis. They would also be teaming up with Briana Arellano (Canutillo HS) and Erika Sianez (El Paso HS), seniors on this year’s team, bringing the total number of hometown players to eight.

For these eight student-athletes they are realizing a dream they have had since they were little girls watching the Orange and Blue in Memorial Gym.

“To me, it’s a dream come true,” Sianez said. “Ever since I was a little girl playing club volleyball here in El Paso. That was the one thing I wanted to do.”

“When I was little I looked up to these players,” Sanchez remarked. “I can’t believe I am actually in this position.”

Living a childhood dream is something that only few get to realize. However, the place these eight have called home for their entire lives dealt with a nightmare rather than a dream on Aug. 3 of this year.

Nearly a month ago one of the safest cities in the United States witnessed one of the deadliest mass shootings on record. In its wake came the “El Paso Strong” movement. The movement has brought to the forefront already existing themes that the city values as foundations for its culture. Family, unity and always having each other’s backs are emphasized daily.

“El Paso Strong represents unity,” Sifuentes explained. “After the events that happened we all came together as one, and treated each other like family.”

“To me, it means family,” Chacon said. “The city of El Paso is always unified, and we are always together in everything we do. The events that happened recently brought us together, and showed that we will always have each other’s backs.”

The way this community has persevered is no surprise to Arellano as she explained, “When tragedy strikes, we come together.”

These eight are not just here to help begin the Wallis era at UTEP. They are here to inspire the next generation of El Paso volleyball and to be the embodiment of El Paso Strong in the community, on the court and in the classroom.

Pacific Edges UTEP 3-2, NMSU up next Sunday afternoon

Saturday afternoon, UTEP fell to Pacific, 3-2 (14-25, 25-17, 25-21, 22-25, 11-15), during a hard-fought match.

The Miners (4-2), after falling in the first set, 25-14, rallied to take a 2-1 advantage. But the Tigers (3-3) won the next two sets, taking advantage of UTEP miscues Saturday afternoon in the Pan Am Center.

Serena Patterson led with 10 kills, while Mallory Yost tallied eight kills and led the team with a .462 hitting percentage. Syenna Masaki paced the squad with 16 assists.

Pacific came out of the gates in the first set to go up 7-2 and controlled the pace of the set to take a 1-0 advantage.

UTEP responded with a 25-17 triumph in set two. Miners took an early 5-1 lead off an attack error by Allison Dennemann. The Tigers used an 8-4 run to tie the set at 9-9.

Patterson sparked the Miners and tallied a solo block that started a 9-4 run. Anamarija Mikovic tallied a kill to put the Miners up 11-9. After going back and forth, Irbe Lazda registered a service ace, giving UTEP an 18-13 lead.

Pacific’s Sedona Sherman tallied a service ace of her own to get within two points (18-16). UTEP tamed the Tigers, tallying seven of the final eight points, highlighted by a pair of Masaki service aces, a Patterson ace and a kill by Cheyenne Jones. The Miners also took advantage of a pair of errors to claim victory.

The fourth set finished in a 25-22 final, in favor of Pacific. UTEP was down by five points on multiple occasions before going on a 6-1 run to tie the set 20-20. Masaki registered a kill to even the score. But the Tigers finished off the Miners 5-2 down the stretch to tie the match 2-2.

In the fifth set, Pacific took a 9-5 lead. The fighting Miners went on a 5-1 run to tie the set 10-10. But again, the Tigers converted on kills and took advantage of errors to claim a 15-11 victory.

Up next, UTEP will face I-10 rival NM State Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Pan Am Center.

UTEP Volleyball Improves to 4-1 after Rallying to Defeat Texas A&M-CC 3-2

UTEP Head Coach Ben Wallis has brought passion and energy to the volleyball program.

“I talked about it before the match. This is going to be hard,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Ben Wallis said.

“I told the team it was going to be hard, I don’t want it to be easy. My speech to team before the match is there’s a difference between front runners and grinders. Front runners are the people who play well in the lead. They’re the ones who just expect things to be easy when it gets hard – they just buckle and they fail. So my whole speech was don’t be a front runner.”

The Miners (4-1), after falling down 2-0 to Texas A&M-CC (2-4), rallied with pure energy and excitement to a 3-2 victory, including a 15-5 dominating triumph in set no. 5 Friday night in Memorial Gym.

Earlier in the day, UTEP defeated Coppin State, 3-0, to commence the 2019 Borderland Invitational.

MATCH2: UTEP 3, Texas A&M-CC 2

TAMUCC opened the match with a 25-18 win and followed with a crushing 25-15 victory in set two to take a 2-0 lead.

Following the two losses, the Miners paid back the Islanders with a 25-15 win of their own. After going neck and neck with a 9-9 tie, UTEP went on a 6-0 run as Cheyenne Jones tallied a pair of kills and Alex Torres registered two service aces. The Islanders never recovered.

The third set was close, while the two squads were tied 16-16. But the Miners used a 4-0 run to go up 20-16, taking advantage of attack errors. Texas A&M-CC got within three points (21-18), but UTEP finished off the set, 25-19, to tie the match 2-2.

The Miners drowned the Islanders in the fifth set after jumping out to a 12-4 lead. Alianza Darley and Serena Patterson connected on a kill each, while Patterson finished off the day with a service ace to down TAMUCC, 15-5.

Irbe Lazda led the Orange and Blue with 16 kills and registered three service aces to go along with Syenna Masaki’s trio of aces. Mallory Yost led with five blocks and Masaki paced the team with 18 assists. Patterson and Torres each recorded 11 digs.

MATCH1: UTEP 3, Coppin State 0

Anamarija Mikovic led the Miners with 11 kills, while Mallory Yost registered a .538 hitting percentage to lead the Miners past Coppin State, 3-0.

“Any win we can get with this young team is a big deal,” Wallis said. “It was our first win at home which  is exciting for us. Coppin state was down a player today with an injury, so they’re better than they were and they still gave us fits. We played consistently well for long stretches never relented. I’m proud of the fact that we were pretty balanced. We set a lot of players and got people in the game who needed experience.”

The Eagles (2-3) played a competitive first set, taking a 13-12 lead off a kill from Miajavon Coleman after UTEP took a quick 4-1 advantage.

The Miners, after falling down a point, went on a 5-0 run highlighted by a pair of kills by Cheyenne Jones to take a 17-13 lead. Darley then gave her squad a five-point advantage (20-15) off an assist by Kristen Fritsche.

The Miners would prevail 25-21, capped by a kill by Patterson from a set ball by Sophia Chacon.

The Miners controlled the pace during the next two sets. UTEP won set two, 25-17. The Orange and Blue led by as many as 10  points on a pair of occasions. A service ace by Patterson put UTEP up 17-7, while a kill by Darley gave the Miners a 23-13 lead.

Again, UTEP would lead by 10 points during five occasions during the third set. CSU found a way to chip away, finding itself down by five points (24-19), but Darley clipped the Eagles on a kill from a Fritsche assist to capture the victory.

Erika Sianez led the Miners with a trio of aces, while Patterson and Lazda registered two aces apiece. Ladza led with six blocks, while Darley and Yost tallied a pair of blocks each.

Fritsche registered a season-high 20 assists, while Masaki set up her teammates with 13 assists. Torres led the way with 16 digs.

Up next, UTEP will play up the road in Las Cruces, in a pair of matches. First, the Miners will take on Pacific Saturday at 4 p.m. and will tangle with I-10 rival NM State Sunday at 2 p.m.

UTEP Volleyball wins thriller over UIW

LAFAYETTE, La. – The UTEP Volleyball team (2-1) defeated UIW (1-2) in five sets (25-14, 14-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11), 3-2, on Saturday morning at Earl K. Long Fieldhouse.

The Miners have won back-to-back matches and are off to their best start to a season since 2011.

Cheyenne Jones produced a career-high 24 kills along with four blocks in the victory. Alex Torres also had a career day, with career highs in digs (26), assists (13) and service aces (four). Serena Patterson produced a double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs. Syenna Masaki led the squad in assists (28) and also locked in 19 digs.

The Miners were sporting a 5-4 lead early on in the first set. UTEP would gain control with a 6-1 run to put it ahead, 11-5. It never looked back, cruising to a 25-14 victory. The Orange and Blue were reliant on the hot hand of Jones, who posted six kills in the set on a .600 hitting percentage. The Miners also racked up five service aces that helped carry them to the first-frame win.

The Cardinals bounced back and in the second frame, 25-14, and evened up the set count at 1-1.

UTEP found itself trailing for most of the third set. The Miners made a late push, cutting the deficit to two, 23-21, late in the set. However, UIW stayed the course, finishing off the set, 25-21.

The Miners were in complete control of the fourth frame, and were looking at match point, 24-17, as the Cardinals took a timeout. UIW came out on fire, scoring six straight points to make the score 24-23 in favor of UTEP. The Orange and Blue would hold strong and finish off the set to force a fifth and deciding frame.

UTEP rode that momentum all the way to a classic fifth-set victory over UIW, 15-1.

Next up, the Miners will come home to play at historic Memorial Gym on Friday, Sept. 6 against Coppin State at 10 a.m. MT.

Notes >> This is the first time since 2011 where the Miners have won two or matches on opening weekend.

UTEP Volleyball splits first day of action

LAFAYETTE, La. – The UTEP Volleyball team (1-1) defeated Louisiana (0-2) in three sets (25-21, 25-21, 25-20), 3-0, on Friday night. The Miners fell to Tulane (2-0) in three sets (25-11, 25-18, 25-18), earlier in the day at Earl K. Long Fieldhouse.

Match One

The Orange and Blue were led by Jones, who posted team highs in kills (seven) and blocks (four). Yost also registered four blocks, while Lazda locked in four kills at a .375 clip and four service aces. Syenna Masaki was the leading setter with 14 assists and two digs.

The Green Wave jumped out to an early 4-1 lead to begin the first set. The Miners battled, but a 16-2 run in the middle of the frame closed the door for UTEP, giving Tulane a 1-0 set advantage.

The second game was highlighted by Lazda, who connected on four consecutive aces, cutting into the Green Wave lead, 13-12. However, Tulane would go on a 12-6 run to close out the second set, and go up 2-0 over the Miners.

UTEP faced an early 11-1 deficit to begin the third frame. The Miners would battle back with an 11-6 run of their own, but would fall short in the set, 25-18, dropping the match 3-0.

Wallis’s Thoughts

“Starting out with Tulane is a blessing and a curse all at the same time. They are very balanced and efficient. They are a top 60 team for a reason. They have six good arms, and you have to finish with a big swing or else they will. We struggled offensively to score against a solid defensive team, and that isn’t a huge surprise. We had moments where we sustained good volleyball, but they aren’t coming in long enough stretches yet. We know where we are deficient, and we just need time to develop some of our younger players. Our veterans have to produce more while they are learning.”

Match Two

The Miners bounced back from a loss earlier in the day to sweep Louisiana. They were led by the big swings of Irbe Lazda, Cheyenne Jones and Anamarija Mikovic who tallied eight kills each. Lazda posted an impressive .636 hitting percentage along with three blocks. Serena Patterson dominated the serving game, posting six service aces, and locking in a team-high 20 digs.

The Miners and Ragin’ Cajuns took part in an epic first set. The two squads found themselves tied on 13 different occasions. UTEP found separation when Mikovic notched a kill that put it up 20-17, forcing a Louisiana timeout. The Orange and Blue would take full advantage of the separation, and won the frame, 25-20.

The second set was much of the same between the two teams. Back-and- forth action all the way until the 20-point mark, where UTEP took control of the frame, 20-18, on an ace from Kristen Fritsche. The Miners would take full advantage of this lead, and finish off the Ragin’ Cajuns 25-21 to take the two-set cushion.

It was a different story to begin the third frame for the Miners. UTEP saw itself down by as much as five points early on. However the Orange and Blue dug it themselves out of the hole, regaining the lead, 19-18. The Miners never looked back, completing the sweep with a 25-20 victory in the third set.

Wallis’s Thoughts

“We got solid contributions from everybody. We were relentless defensively. Serena Patterson pulled out 20 digs. She was flying around making plays. What we weren’t doing well offensively, we were doing well digging and blocking it. Everyone chipped in. Cheyenne (Jones) had a really great match. She was much less predictable than she was this morning. She used the entire court. I thought she chipped in with eight really solid kills. She really sealed the line from a first team all-conference outside hitter on their team. Cheyenne really just shut her down. Darley contributed with her first collegiate match. She had a few kills and stuffed a few balls. She got some of the freshman jitters out. It was a really good collective win. We never stopped competing, and we stayed composed.”

Next up, the Miners will cap off their trip to Louisiana with a match against UIW Saturday at 9 a.m. MT.

UTEP Volleyball emphasizes efficiency, effort in first practice of 2019 season

The UTEP volleyball team engaged in its first practice of the 2019 season on Saturday morning at Memorial Gym.

Head coach Ben Wallis is entering his 12th season coaching Division I collegiate volleyball, and his first leading the Miners. Wallis has seen many first practices, and understands these days come with an extraordinary amount of excitement for the staff and team. However, even he was surprised by the enthusiasm that was brought to the court in the initial practice.

“It was pleasantly surprising,” Wallis said. “I thought everybody was really excited. I think that is natural, but even still some teams in some years you have to get them to be excited the first day, and these guys were ready to roll. They were pumped about being here. They were amped up, and paying attention to detail pretty early. I think they are excited about the year and excited about learning, so that was a really good sign.”

Coach Wallis and staff made it a point on day one to preach the mindset of being relentless, and beating every team they play in the category of effort.

“There is a real need for our team to be the hardest playing, most relentless team in our conference, in order for us to beat some of the teams we are going to play,” Wallis noted. “I think we can out play people just by pure unadulterated effort. We could lead the conference in effort if we wanted to. That is why we started out with some of the effort drills that we did, to set the tone. We are going to play harder than everybody. We will put the people on the floor that will play harder than everybody. It’s a message I wanted to send quickly.”

The Miners are also maintaining a focus on improving their offensive and defensive efficiency. Last year’s squad struggled on both sides of the court, resulting in a five-win season. The first-year head coach understands the need for improvement, and when asked on what the focus is heading into the season he had a short and simple answer: “Scoring.”

“This team was dead last in the conference in offensive efficiency, being able to score,” Wallis emphasized. “They were also second-to-last in defensive efficiency. So they didn’t stop anybody and they didn’t score enough. For us, we really want to raise our offensive efficiency to a place where we can compete with the top teams in our conference. If we do that we will be able to win matches against low-RPI teams that maybe we aren’t expected to right now.”

The Orange and Blue’s first bit of action will come on August 17th at 2 p.m., in Memorial Gym. This will mark the inaugural “Meet the Miners” event, where fans can come watch UTEP in an intrasquad scrimmage. Fans can come interact with the new staff and players, as well as pick up a team poster.

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

Miners Drop Five-Set Heartbreaker to Owls

The Rice volleyball team rallied from a 2-1 match deficit to defeat the Miners in five sets (15-25, 25-22, 25-22, 11-25, 11-25) Friday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.

UTEP dropped to 2-11 overall and 0-1 in C-USA while the Owls improved to 8-7 overall and 1-0 in conference.

Setter Lindsey Larson notched her fourth triple-double with 22 assists, 18 digs, 12 kills and two blocks.

Freshman Macey Austin matched Larson with 12 kills and added two digs. Amanda King Paced the team with 23 assists while Sarah Villa led in digs (24) and also helped with five assists.  Tatum Winter finished with seven kills, two blocks, a dig and a service ace. Ashley Grzebeniak racked up nine digs, six kills, one dig and a block. Briana Arellano also helped out the defense with 12 digs.

The Owls rallied out to a 25-15 victory in the opening set before the Miners rallied back to tie the match, 1-1, with a win in the second frame (25-22). The Miners maintained their rhythm going into the third set and picked up a 2-1 match lead with a 25-22 set victory. The Owls responded by taking a quick 25-11 win in the fourth set to tie the match 2-2 and sealed the match with a 15-11 victory in the deciding set.

Next up, the Orange and Blue will head to Birmingham, Ala. to face off against UAB on Sunday at 12 p.m.

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