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Home | Tag Archives: utep volleyball

Tag Archives: utep volleyball

UTEP Athletics “Picks Up Podcast” premieres

The brand-new “Picks Up Podcast” made its debut Thursday on UTEP Athletics’ official website.

The “Picks Up Podcast” takes an inside look at UTEP Athletics, offering perspectives and analysis not available anywhere else.  Hosted by long-time “Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher, “Picks Up Podcast” kicks off with a visit from Jim Senter who, like his fellow collegiate Athletic Directors, is navigating unique and challenging times due to the onset of COVID-19.

“I look forward to sharing additional Miner content in a new form with those who enjoy UTEP Athletics,” Teicher said.

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

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 Summer Team Camps

UTEP Volleyball and head coach Ben Wallis unveil the team summer camp offerings for the El Paso and southwest region.

“We are really looking forward to our two team camp and individual offerings this year,” Wallis said. “Last year we had a team tournament that got 28 teams in the span of a couple of months after we got hired. We are going to redo that team tournament. It was very competitive last year, so we are going to be able to offer our high school coaches from around the region two different opportunities.”

Interested participants can visit the UTEP camp page to sign up. For any questions or concerns, they may contact assistant coach/camp director Nikola Petrovic via email at npetrovic@utep.edu

The sessions will occur on July 10-12. The cost of the camp will be $500 per team ($600 after April 1) with a maximum of 12 players per team. The camp will have a limit of 28 teams that will be allowed to sign up.

The UTEP Team Tournament is going to be of the most competitive summer tournaments in the region. It will feature teams from across the south west region, coming to compete for three days in a double pool play and bracket style tournament on the final day. They will break the teams into two divisions after the first day of pool play, and will whittle the teams down to one eventual champion on Sunday.

“The first opportunity will be a tournament where it will just be play, Wallis said. “Every team will come and we will put them in pools, building up to a bracket and a champion on Sunday.”

UTEP Volleyball will also offer the opportunity to teams across the southwest region to come and be trained in systematic approaches and tactics.

“This year we will also offer our I.T.C.,” Wallis explained. “Which is our instruction and training camp. We will bring coaches and their teams and we will train their teams for four days. We will give them opportunities to play, and develop their systems right. This will help them leading up to their seasons. We will give the El Paso and coaches from all over the opportunity to come here. We will train these teams and give them the chance to learn different tactics and systematic approaches. This will set those teams up for great success for the beginning of August.”

The camp will be from July 27-30, and payment information is available on the website. If you have and questions please contact coach Wallis via email at bkwallis@utep.edu.

These camps are open to and all entrants, limited only by number, grade level and/or gender.

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 npetrovic@utep.edu.

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 inks Paulina Perez Rosas

Head coach Ben Wallis and UTEP Volleyball approach the end of 2019 with the signing of Paulina Perez Rosas.

Perez Rosas will be joining the UTEP family after a two-year stint at UCF. While at UCF, the Puerto Rico native was a part of two conference championship teams.

“We are excited to bring Paulina on board,” Wallis said. “We are mostly excited because she is a prototypical six-rotation outside hitter. In baseball they have five-tool players, well she is a five-tool player. That is a great for our group because we will have a player that can help in all phases of the game, which is important at the college volleyball level. She comes from a really good program at UCF that went to the NCAA tournament this year. She has been training around really good athletes these past two years, and she sat behind two really impeccable outside hitters. She is going to get a chance to compete right away on our roster. We are also very excited that she will be joining us in January. This will give us a chance to train her in our system before she has to play in a real college volleyball game. While we were recruiting her we could tell that she has some moxie and a chip on her shoulder. That is something we really need in our program. I am looking forward to working with her and so are our players. When she came on her visit she got along really well with our group. She chose the Miners and our team over a few other schools that were recruiting her, so we are fired up to get her on board.”

Before beginning her collegiate career she competed for her country on the national stage. The outside hitter is a five-time selection to the Puerto Rican national team, and was the captain of the U15 and U18 squads.

She helped guide Puerto Rico to a fourth-place finish at the NORCECA U20 Pan American Cup in 2017, where she finished 25th in scoring. Perez Rosas also led Puerto Rico in scoring at the NORCECA U18 Pan American Cup in 2016.

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 online.

UTEP Volleyball Turns Fortunes Around in 2019

Head coach Ben Wallis put together the best turnaround by a first-year coach in program history, taking the Miners from their five win 2018 season to 13 in 2019.

The Orange and Blue had a year they have not seen in quite some time. They made the conference tournament for the first time in three seasons, and had their highest finish in the conference standings since 2012.

“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. “They have also been very complimentary of how our year went. In most ways 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 it over.”

“I am disappointed in our record. I felt like when I looked at our schedule and roster that we could win 15 or 16 matches. We fell short of my personal goal and my staff’s goal. We never told the players that. We never asked them to meet a specific win number. But they set a goal and they set a number that they fell short of as well. To get to 13 wins and 15 losses against the schedule that we had is a success from where our program started,” Wallis added.

“I do wish we were able to knock off some of those really tough opponents like NM State, Pacific and Bakersfield. Those three losses stick out in my mind as opportunities that could have given us a truly unbelievable year. I am proud of what we put out there and the way we reshaped our program. We turned this team into 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.”

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. 2019 saw a more than 100-spot leap into the top 150.

The Orange and Blue won seven matches in non conference play, which was one more than the last two season combined. This was the first time they posted a non conference record above .500 since 2011.

Wallis and the Miners also boasted a winning record at home with a 6-3 record in historic Memorial Gym. This is the first winning record in the Sun City since 2013, where UTEP posted an identical .667 winning percentage.

“Our home attendance was something I was most proud of this season,” Wallis stated. “Our home attendance got 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. It also helped us win to have everyone there. 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 in the future that this will be a tough place for people to play.”

Cheyenne Jones made big improvements in her game under Wallis. The junior became just the fifth player in UTEP volleyball history to make the C-USA All-Conference second team. Jones posted career highs in kills (259), hitting percentage (.242), total blocks (74) and points (303.0).

Mallory Yost also had a career year, posting career bests in kills (198) and total blocks (90). The junior also increased her hitting percentage by .087 points, hitting .324 for the year.

Additionally, the Miners saw some history with the 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, and Serena Patterson was the first C-USA Offensive Player of the Week since 2013 for UTEP.

“To be able to get Cheyenne (Jones) on the all-conference team, and to have Serena (Patterson) and Irbe (Lazda) win conference players of the week was great,” Wallis said. “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 of the No. 21 team in the nation Rice Owls. This was the first set victory over a ranked opponent since 2001.

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

Cheyenne Jones Earns C-USA All-Conference Second Team Honors

DALLAS – UTEP volleyball’s Cheyenne Jones was named to the Conference USA All-Conference second team as announced by the league office Wednesday afternoon.

Jones becomes the fifth player in program history to be named to the C-USA All Conference second team. The last Miner to do so was Macey Austin, who was voted to the second team in 2017 and 2018.

“Cheyenne has tried really hard to re-invent herself as a volleyball player,” Head coach Ben Wallis said. “She’s grown as an attacker and has more tools in the tool bag now than she did eight months ago. She has grown most as a blocker. Putting the block numbers up that she put up this year is probably one of the reasons why she was able to make second team all conference, and for the most part Cheyenne led us in point scoring all year long. I’m proud of her making that team. I think she can continue to grow in the off-season also.”

“She learned and listened a lot in the springtime and she was able to grow as an attacker and blocker, that’s why she made second team. The two matches that she missed while she was out we certainly missed her. We missed her ability to stop people and her ability to score. We’re going to push her even harder in the spring to make her better for us in the fall, and I think is a great step for her as a volleyball player,” Wallis added.

This is the first conference honor for the Missoula, Montana, native. She leads the Miners with 249 kills, and has a .261 hitting percentage in conference play. The outside hitter is also second on the squad in blocks with 71.

Jones was on an absolute tear during the month of October and into November. The junior was hitting .418 with 75 kills, and the Miners were 5-1 in that stretch. The outside hitter put on a career performance against Southern Miss with 25 kills and five blocks with a scorching-hot .465 hitting percentage.

The outside hitter’s play has helped lead the Orange and Blue to their first conference tournament berth in three years. The Miners will play Rice on Friday, November 22 at 4 p.m. MT in Houston, Texas.

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

UTEP Volleyball heads to Houston for Conference Tournament

The UTEP volleyball team (13-14, 6-8) will travel to Houston, Texas, as the seventh seed in the Conference USA Tournament, and will take on Rice (24-2, 13-1) in the first round on Friday, November 22 at 4 p.m. MT.

The matches will be live streamed on ESPN+ and live stats will be provided as well.

The Orange and Blue cemented their spot in the conference tournament as the seventh seed, which is the highest finish since 2012. This is also the first conference tournament appearance for the Miners since 2016. UTEP will take on the second seeded Rice in the first round of the tourney.

This will be the third matchup between the two squads this season. If the Miners are victorious on Friday then they will play the winner of the North Texas and UTSA matchup on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT.

UTEP Volleyball has seen six different coaches since Norm Brandl took over the program in 1976. Every coach since then has posted a worse record then the year prior. However, Ben Wallis is excluded from that company. He has improved on last season’s win total by eight, and has the greatest turnaround by a first-year coach in program history.

UTEP has had a turnaround for the books. Last year the Miners won five matches and ranked 259 in the RPI. This season, the Orange and Blue have 13 wins and have improved their RPI to 144.

Serena Patterson was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week after her performance against Marshall (10/25). She is the first offensive player of the week for the Miners since 2013 (Xitalili Herrera – 10/21/13). Patterson had 16 kills and recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 13 digs.

Cheyenne Jones was on an absolute tear during a six-match streak in conference. The junior was hitting .418 with 75 kills, and the Miners were 5-1 in that stretch. The outside hitter put on a career performance against Southern Miss with 25 kills and five blocks with a scorching-hot .465 hitting percentage.

The Orange and Blue won five matches all of last season. They have already more than doubled that mark with 13 victories. UTEP has also surpassed the Conference win total from 2018 (two) with six. During 2018 the Miners were victorious in only one match in Memorial Gym, and in 2019 they had six.

Redshirt freshman Kenidy Howard is leading the Miners during league play with 42 blocks, and is sixth in the league with 1.02 blocks per set.

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 UTEPMiners.com.

UTEP Volleyball falls to Rice in regular season finale

The UTEP volleyball team (13-14, 6-8) fell to No. 21 Rice (24-2, 13-1) in three sets (16-25, 13-25, 12-25), 3-0, on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gym.

UTEP was led by Kristen Fritsche, who posted a team-high 12 assists. Kenidy Howard and Mallory Yost led the attack with five kills each.

The Miners were going toe-to-toe with Rice to begin the first set. The score was 17-15 in favor of the visitors, when the Owls strung together five-straight points. Rice rode that momentum to a 25-16 set victory.

The Owls came out hot after the break, scoring the first six points of the second frame. The Orange and Blue were unable to inch any closer, falling to Rice, 25-13.

The Owls finished put the match with a 25-12 victory in the third game.

With Middle Tennessee winning its match and Charlotte losing today, the Miners are locked into the seventh seed for the Conference USA Tournament.

UTEP will play against Rice on Friday, November 22 at a time that will be announced by the league sometime today. This will be the third meeting between the two teams this season, and is the highest finish in the conference standings since 2012 for the Miners.

Next up, the Orange and Blue will travel to the C-USA Tournament to take on Rice on Friday, November 22 in Houston, Texas.

C-USA Tournament bound Miners return home to face No. 21 Rice

The UTEP volleyball team (13-13, 6-7) punched its ticket to the Conference USA Tournament on Thursday night, and will take on No. 21 Rice (23-2, 12-2) Saturday at 12 p.m., at Memorial Gym.

Although the Miners fell to Charlotte Thursday evening, the losses from UAB and Middle Tennessee helped UTEP clinch its first C-USA tournament berth since 2016.

The Orange and Blue will be looking to secure the seventh seed with a victory over No. 21 Rice on “Senior Day”. UTEP took the Owls to five sets last season at home, and in 2017 defeated them under the lights of Memorial Gym.

Head Coach Ben Wallis has brought UTEP volleyball its most wins since 2013, the most conference victories since 2016, first ever C-USA Freshman of the Week and now the first conference tourney trip in three years.

UTEP is 6-2 at home this season, and will look to give its five seniors another victory at Memorial before heading to Houston, Texas, for a shot at the C-USA crown.

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

UTEP Volleyball drops match at Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The UTEP volleyball team (13-13, 6-7) fell to Charlotte (16-14, 5-8) in three sets (12-25, 25-27, 22-25), 3-0, on Thursday evening at Halton Arena.

The Miners still sit in sole possession of seventh place in the conference standings. If UAB (12-13, 4-8) and Middle Tennessee (12-15, 5-7) both lose tonight, then UTEP will clinch its first Conference USA tournament berth since 2016.

Cheyenne Jones led the way for the Miners with a game-high 15 kills. Erika Sianez produced 22 digs, while Mallory Yost locked in another efficient outing with a .368 hitting percentage.

The 49ers took the first frame in convincing fashion by the score of 25-12.

Jones would enter the second set on fire, scoring eight kills to lead UTEP in the game. The Miners were up 24-23, but ultimately fell to Charlotte, 27-25, after a late run by the home team.

Charlotte carried that momentum into the third frame, jumping out to a 17-13 lead. UTEP would respond, scoring five straight to take an 18-17 advantage. However, the 49ers dug deep and took the set, 25-22, and match in straight sets.

Next up, the Miners will play Rice on Saturday, November 16 at 12 p.m. MT. UTEP will honor five seniors at the conclusion of the match.

UTEP Volleyball looks to clinch C-USA Tournament Berth

The UTEP volleyball team (13-12, 6-6) will travel to Charlotte (15-14, 4-8) on Thursday at 4 p.m. MT, and will host No. 21 Rice (22-2, 11-1) for “Senior Day” on Saturday at 12 p.m. MT.

As Saturday is “Senior Day” for the Miners, the team will recognize Briana Arellano, Erika Sianez, Priscilla Sanchez, Niki Cebak and Macey Austin for their contributions to UTEP Volleyball.

The 49ers are looking to make a final push at the conference tournament this weekend. If they are to run the table, winning their final two matches, then they have a shot at making it to Houston. Yumi Garcia is Charlotte’s star libero. The senior has 686 digs and a staggering 6.66 digs per set.

Rice is coming off of a ranked matchup with WKU, where it fell in an epic five set war. In the latest polls, the Owls are ranked No. 21 nationally. Nicole Lennon will lead the team into El Paso, Texas, being the front-runner for conference player of the year. She has 390 kills and has won Conference USA Player of the Week on seven different occasions.

The top eight teams in Conference USA make the post-season tournament, and the Miners currently sit at seventh with a 6-6 league record. The Orange and Blue can punch their ticket to the C-USA tourney with a victory at Charlotte on Thursday. UTEP’s seeding could vary from the sixth spot to the eighth, which is dependent on what occurs in the final weekend of play.

The Miners appear to be getting hot at the right time. They are on a three-match winning streak, and are 6-2 in their last eight conference games.

The Orange and Blue, with one more victory, will clinch the most conference wins since 2014 (seven), and their first winning season since 2012.

Cheyenne Jones has been on an absolute tear during her last six conference matches. The junior is hitting .418 with 75 kills, and the Miners are 5-1 in this stretch. The outside hitter put on a career performance against Southern Miss with 25 kills and five blocks with a scorching-hot .465 hitting percentage.

The Orange and Blue won five matches all of last season. They have already more than doubled that mark with 13 victories. UTEP has also surpassed the conference win total from 2018 (two) with six.

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

The matches will be live streamed at CUSA.tv and live stats will be available as well against Charlotte and at home.

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 UTEPMiners.com.

 

Mallory Yost leads Miners past North Texas

Mallory Yost led UTEP Volleyball (13-12, 6-6) past North Texas (15-10, 9-4) in four sets (26-24, 21-25, 25-16, 25-16), 3-1, with nine kills and seven blocks on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gym.

Yost locked in a scorching hot .571 hitting percentage and a season-high seven blocks, helping the Miners inch closer to its first Conference USA Tournament berth since 2016.

The Orange and Blue currently sit in sole possession of seventh place in the league. With a victory in either of their last two matches, UTEP will officially punch its ticket to Houston, Texas.

This is the first time since 2013 where the Miners have had two three-match winning streaks in the same season.

North Texas had been an incredibly efficient offensive team, hitting .233 as a squad this year. UTEP held the Mean Green to just .112 in that department, due in part to the stellar blocking and strong play from Erika Sianez at libero. UTEP also erased North Texas’s hopes of having an undefeated road record in conference play.

Kristen Fritsche produced a double-double for the Miners with a team-high 22 assists and 11 digs. Kenidy Howard tallied nine kills, and had three blocks. Cheyenne Jones added nine kills in just 21 swings, and also helped out with two blocks. Serena Patterson notched a team-high 10 kills.

The first set against the Mean Green was a highly contested affair. There were 15 ties in the frame and seven lead changes. The two squads were locked up at 24-24, when Yost and Patterson broke the tie with a vicious block. Anamarija Mikovic earned the set for the Miners with an ace on the very next serve, 26-24.

The Mean Green got the better of UTEP in the next game, winning the set 25-21 to even up the set count, 1-1.

However, the Orange and Blue did not allow North Texas to build any momentum off of that victory. They would claim the next two frames in convincing fashion with a pair of 25-16 wins.

Coach Wallis’s Thoughts:

“You know I am extremely proud of my team again for the effort they showed. We executed against a team that has two of the best arms in the conference. Valerian is probably an All-American, because she has the ability to go up over the top of you. She got 26 of their points on her own. She is a complete stud, but the fact of the matter is that we held her in check when we needed to. We made some big digs on bombs from her. I had enough faith in our kids that we could wear her out by digging her attacks. Mallory (Yost) was a beast again. Serena (Patterson) wasn’t playing very well offensively, but then she just got hot. She stayed emotionally in it, which we have been working on with her. I am extremely proud of my team and I am going to enjoy it with these guys.”

Next up, the Miners will play at Charlotte on Thursday, November 14 at 4 p.m. MT.

Miner Match Notes

>> Most conference victories since 2013 (seven)

>> First time the Miners have had two three-match winning streaks in the same season since 2013

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