BOCA RATON, Fl. – The UTEP volleyball team (9-11, 2-5) fell to Florida Atlantic (10-7, 4-2) in three sets (25-27, 14-25, 11-25), 3-0, on Sunday afternoon at FAU Arena.
Kristen Fritsche posted a team-high 10 assists, and Serena Patterson locked in seven digs. Anamarija Mikovic led the way with five kills and two service aces.
The Miners and Owls engaged in an epic first set, where there were eight ties. The two squads were all knotted up at 22-22, when FAU took the next two points, 24-22. UTEP stormed back, scoring three in a row and were one away from taking the set. However, the Owls would answer and earn the frame 27-25.
FAU rode this momentum into the second set, winning the frame 25-14 and taking a two-set advantage in the match.
The Orange and Blue would be unable to get much going in the third set, as they fell 25-11 and dropped the match.
Next up, he Miners will take on Marshall at home on Friday, October 25 at 6 p.m. MT.
The UTEP Volleyball team (9-10, 2-4) defeated FIU (9-9, 2-4) in four sets (12-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-20), 3-1, on Friday evening in Miami.
The Orange and Blue enjoyed their first victory at FIU in program history, and their first win in the state of Florida since 2012.
UTEP was carried by the stellar play of Serena Patterson, who locked in 13 kills on a .353 hitting clip and collected 10 digs. Cheyenne Jones also added 12 kills on a scorching-hot .360 hitting percentage. Jessica Landeros produced the best match of her young career with 10 kills at a .438 rate. Kenidy Howard led the defense with six blocks, and Alex Torres locked in 13 digs for the Miners.
The Panthers were 7-1 at home before this match, and UTEP now has a 3-4 record on the road.
The Golden Panthers earned a wire-to-wire victory over the Miners in the first set, winning the opening game 25-12 on their home court.
UTEP flipped the script, going on a 5-1 run to start the second game. FIU would get back within one, 20-19, but the Orange and Blue scored the next five points to even up the set count at 1-1.
The two teams were going back-and-forth the entire third frame. UTEP pulled away late, 22-19, forcing a timeout by FIU. However, the Panthers would come out on fire, rallying with four-straight points. The Orange and Blue did not fold, and went on a 3-0 run to take the set, 25-23.
UTEP rode this momentum into the fourth set, dominating its way to a 25-20 victory to claim the frame and the match.
Coach Wallis’s Thoughts
“My comments to them before the match were can you win on the road when you don’t have your best volleyball? That is really what happened tonight. It was good foreshadowing for them because we got crushed in the first set. We didn’t pay attention to the scouting report and by being bad communicators. I went to the other side and challenged them. I got on a couple of the girls about some things, and we started executing. We had a good plan and we knew what we wanted to do against them. Serena (Patterson) was really big in sets two and three. We started passing and digging it better. They have two special athletes on their team. We held them in check, and that was awesome for us. Mallory (Yost) and Kenidy (Howard) did a really nice job of slowing them down. They got frustrated and made some hitting errors. We did not relent at all. We got beat around in the first set, and we won not playing our best volleyball. Landeros played really well again. She is a walk-on outside hitter who went 10 kills on 16 swings, hitting .438 and blocked three balls. That was incredible and it was big time for her. Really proud of her effort and it is a testament to everybody on our team that if you work hard and play the right way then I will play you. Very proud of what she did tonight in just her second match of her career.”
Next up, the Miners will play at Florida Atlantic on Sunday, October 20 at 10 a.m. MT.
The UTEP volleyball team (8-10, 1-4) will hit the road to take on FIU (9-7, 2-3) on Friday at 5 p.m. MT, and Florida Atlantic (9-7, 3-2) on Sunday at 10 a.m. MT.
The Golden Panthers have a 2-3 Conference USA record. Abbie Hughes leads the team with 605 assists on the year and 9.92 assists per set. Fiorella Murillo has notched a team-high 173 kills for FIU. Defensively, Mrythe Maring has 45 blocks and Lina Bernier has locked in 291 digs.
Florida Atlantic is coming into the weekend with a 3-2 record in conference play, and is 7-1 at home this season. It is coming off of a victory over Charlotte (3-0) on Sunday.
Sydney Nemtuda leads the offense for the Owls with 154 kills. Nikki Lakman is the main setter for the offense with 344 assists, and Kori Varney has 174 digs.
Cheyenne Jones and Serena Patterson were nearly unstoppable in the sweep against LA Tech this past Sunday. 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 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).
Alex Torres is ninth in Conference USA in digs per set (3.75) and has totaled 259 digs this season. Mallory Yost is also eighth in the league in hitting percentage (.327), with 122 kills on 272 swings.
The Orange and Blue won five matches all of last season. They have already surpassed that mark with eight victories in the first 18 matches this year.
During 2018 the Miners were victorious in only one match in Memorial Gym, and in 2019 they have three.
The matches will be live streamed at CUSA.tv, and live stats will be available as well for the FIU and FAU matches.
The UTEP Volleyball team (8-10, 1-4) swept LA Tech (11-8, 1-4) in three sets (25-16, 25-18, 25-20), 3-0, on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gym.
The Miners were a force on the offensive end, hitting a red-hot .381 hitting percentage as a team. UTEP out dug the Lady Techsters 45-33, and posted five more blocks than LA Tech.
The Orange and Blue saw incredibly efficient days from Cheyenne Jones, Serena Patterson and Anamarija Mikovic. Jones led the way with 14 kills on a .545 hitting clip. Patterson wasn’t far behind with 13 kills and a .550 hitting percentage. Mikovic came in with 11 kills, and hit .320.
Syenna Masaki produced a career-high 30 assists to help set up the offensive performance of the Miners. Kenidy Howard was a force at the net with a team-high six blocks, and Alex Torres locked in 14 digs as the libero.
UTEP cruised to victory in the first two sets, and in the first frame LA Tech only held the lead for two points. In the second game, UTEP produced a wire-to-wire victory.
The third set was in jeopardy for the Orange and Blue, with the Lady Techsters jumping out to a 15-9 lead. However, UTEP would string together eight straight points, regaining the lead and the momentum. The Miner would outscore LA Tech 16-5 to close out the match.
Coach Wallis’s Thoughts
“First and foremost Jessica Landeros, a freshman from El Paso, who hasn’t played in a match this year helped stabilize us. You can’t really tell in the box score, but she was solid. She gave us another pin player that does the right thing, slows the ball down and gave us another opportunity to side out in different ways. We passed it well and were really efficient offensively. It was nice to see us get back to aggressively attacking it. We have been working on something new with our middles, and we aren’t very good at it yet, but we are trying to grow and be different. Sometimes when you experiment with lineups and change the pieces a lot you can look like a hot mess like we did on Friday. Eventually at some point they start to understand we can be a chameleon, and we can do different things. Our lefts were very efficient today, Ana (Mikovic) and S.P. (Serena Patterson), but really everybody was efficient. It was nice to see Cheyenne (Jones) get back up there and just start being aggressive and attacking it. We were much better defensively than we have been. We also got behind the service line and served it the way we are capable of, which is tough and efficient and attacking. All five phases we played very well today. I am very proud of them, coming off of a heartbreaking loss on Friday where we didn’t play well at all.”
Next up, the Miners will play at FIU on Friday, October 18 at 5 p.m. MT.
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post
The UTEP Volleyball team (7-10, 0-4) fell to UAB (10-7, 2-2) in three sets (22-25, 18-25, 21-25), 3-0, on Friday evening at Memorial Gym.
“We just got out played. We are trying to manufacture ways with our injuries to keep ourselves in matches. But we errored our way out of this match. We had 11 hitting errors in the third set alone,” Head coach Ben Wallis said. “You can’t beat anyone in college volleyball when you error yourself out of matches. There is no excuse for continuing to go up and hit the ball out of bounds, touch the net or serve it in the bottom of the net.”
Cheyenne Jones posted a team-high 10 kills. Serena Patterson locked in nine kills with a solo block. Kristen Fritsche notched 13 assists and a squad-high 10 digs. Mallory Yost and Anamarija Mikovic anchored the defense with two blocks each.
“We find ways to make it 12 all or 14 all, but we struggle to get ahead because we aren’t giving ourselves opportunities to score points in long runs. I have to make sure that we get back in the gym and find ways to get these guys to play better volleyball. We have a tough one again on Sunday, and we will have to find a way to score points when the match gets close,” Wallis added
The first set was a close contest, as the Miners were down one, 21-20, late in the frame. However, UAB would out score UTEP 4-1 to take the first game.
The Blazers opened up the second frame with a 10-5 lead and never looked back. UAB took the set 25-18, and held a two-game advantage.
The Orange and Blue were in the game, as the third set was tied 13-13. Although, the Blazers would go on a 7-1 run, regaining the momentum. UAB would end up taking the frame, 25-21, after a late push by UTEP.
Next up, the Miners will take on the Lady Techsters on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 12 p.m. MT.
The UTEP volleyball team (7-9, 0-3) will face off against UAB (9-7, 1-2) on Friday at 6 p.m. MT, and LA Tech (11-6, 1-2) on Sunday at 12 p.m. MT in Memorial Gym.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234. The matches will be live streamed at CUSA.tv and live stats will be available as well.
Emma Mitchell who has posted 189 kills leads the Blazers. UAB is also strong from the service line with 111 service aces. Anna D’Cruz is the defensive anchor with 64 blocks.
Offensively, Kaitlyn Adams and Madeline Davis have both tallied 156 kills. Morgan Currie has libero responsibilities for the Lady Techsters, and has amassed 280 digs.
Serena Patterson currently leads the squad with 151 kills, and is only 15 kills away from posting a new career high in the category. The outside hitter posted a personal-best 17 kills against CSU Bakersfield (9/13) earlier this season.
Alex Torres is ninth in Conference USA in digs per set (3.73) and has totaled 239 digs this season. Mallory Yost is also ninth in the league in hitting percentage (.332), with 110 kills on 244 swings.
Yost is leading the squad with 55 blocks. Her current career high for blocks in a season is 64, which was set last year. At the middle blockers pace of .86 blocks per set, she is set to shatter that previous career best with 90 blocks on the year.
Torres made history against the Houston Cougars this year. Torres notched 31 digs to become just the 15th player in program history to record 30+ digs in a match.
Cheyenne Jones is second on the team with 147 kills this season. She produced a career-high 24 kills versus UIW earlier in the year. Against Houston at the Red Raider Classic she locked in 17 kills on a .429 hitting clip, helping boost the Miners to a comeback victory. This season she has improved on her hitting percentage from last year (.186), posting a .209 hitting clip.
The UTEP Volleyball team (7-9, 0-3) fell to UTSA (10-7, 3-1) in four sets (25-20, 19-25, 23-25, 24-26), 3-1, on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gym.
The Miners played in front of 1100 UTEP faithful against the Roadrunners. This was the biggest crowd at Memorial Gym since Sept. 11, 2011 against SMU (1543).
Anamarija Mikovic led UTEP with 11 kills and three blocks. Serena Patterson produced a double-double in kills (10) and digs (12). Mallory Yost notched eight kills and led the squad with five blocks. Alex Torres produced a team-high 14 kills.
The first set was controlled from start to finish by UTEP. It took the first frame 25-20.
The Roadrunners would respond with a 25-19 victory, evening up the set count at 1-1.
UTEP fell behind early, 6-1, in the third set. The Miners rallied, and eventually evened up the score at 18-18. However, with the score tied at 23-23, UTSA connected on the next two points and won the frame.
The fourth set was a back-and-forth affair throughout. The two teams were tied on eight-different occasions, and UTEP had set point, 24-23, late in the game. The Roadrunners dug deep and pulled out three points in a row to finish off the Miners, 26-24, to end the match.
Next up, the Miners will be back at home on Friday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. MT versus UAB.
The UTEP volleyball team (7-8, 0-2) will face off against UTSA (9-6, 2-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m. MT in Memorial Gym.
The Miners and Roadrunners squared off this past Sunday in San Antonio, Texas. UTSA got the better of UTEP as it won the match 3-1. The Orange and Blue have fallen to their Orange and Blue rivals on 13-straight occasions.
The Orange and Blue won five matches all of last season. They have already surpassed that mark with seven victories in the first 15 matches this year.
During 2018 the Miners were victorious in only one match in Memorial Gym. At this point they have already surpassed that win total, and are a perfect 2-0 at home.
UTEP Volleyball will be hosting its “Youth Day” promotion on Sunday prior to the match. With the purchase of a game ticket all children 12 and under will be welcome to join the team at 11 a.m., for a pre-match clinic.
Following the conclusion of the clinic all participants may join Paydirt Pete for a pregame pizza party. Those wishing to participate need to RSVP for the clinic; please contact Lanneya Trujillo at email@example.com.
Brianna McCulloch is leading the Roadrunners with 170 kills, and Madeline McKay has 33 blocks.
Serena Patterson currently leads the squad with 141 kills, and is only 25 kills away from posting a new career high in the category. The outside hitter posted a personal-best 17 kills against CSU Bakersfield (9/13) earlier this season.
Cheyenne Jones is second on the team with 138 kills this season. She produced a career-high 24 kills versus UIW (8/31) earlier in the year. Against Houston (9/21) at the Red Raider Classic she locked in 17 kills on a .429 hitting clip, helping boost the Miners to a comeback victory. This season she has improved on her hitting percentage from last year (.186), posting a .209 hitting clip.
The Miners have been dominating the serve game in the early part of the season. UTEP has 93 service aces to its opponent’s 67. Syenna Masaki (19), Serena Patterson (17), Irbe Lazda (15) and Alex Torres (13) have already surpassed double-digit aces on the year.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234. The match will be live streamed at CUSA.tv and live stats will be available as well.
HOUSTON – The UTEP volleyball team (7-7, 0-1) fell to No. 22 Rice (12-1, 1-0) (20-25, 15-25, 18-25) on Friday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Miners were led by Serena Patterson, who posted a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs. Mallory Yost notched four blocks, and Alianza Darley added seven kills to the effort. Alex Torres had a team-high 13 digs against the Owls.
UTEP dug itself a quick 7-1 hole to begin the match. However, the Miners were unwilling to roll over, answering with a 7-2 run of their own. The Owls would regain the momentum, opening up a 20-12 advantage on UTEP.
The Orange and Blue stormed back, cutting the lead to four, 24-20, but ultimately fell in the opening frame.
The second set began similarly to the first, with Rice taking an early 5-1 lead. UTEP cut that lead to one, 9-8, but were unable to stay in the game losing the set 25-15.
The Orange and Blue were holding on in the third frame down three, 18-15, but could not get any closer. The Owls defeated UTEP in the set 25-18 and took the match, 3-0.
Up next, UTEP will travel to San Antonio, Texas, to battle UTSA on Sunday at 11 a.m. MT.
UTEP volleyball (7-6) opens up Conference USA play on the road against No. 22 Rice (11-1) on Friday and UTSA (7-6) on Sunday.
The Orange and Blue will begin their conference schedule against Rice on Friday at 5 p.m. MT. The Owls defeated No. 3 Texas earlier this season, and are now ranked No. 22 in the nation.
The Miners will cap off their first conference road trip in San Antonio, Texas, versus UTSA on Sunday at 11 a.m. MT.
Nicole Lennon has been the offensive workhorse for Rice this season. The Preseason Conference USA Player of the Year has 215 kills (5.12 kills per set).
On defense Grace Morgan, who has a team-high 45 blocks, leads the Owls.
Briana McCulloch paces UTSA in the kills department with 152. The Roadrunners have posted 71 blocks, while their opponents have 117. UTSA has two more service aces than UTEP with 85.
The Miners are boasting a record above .500 after nonconference play for the first time since 2011. UTEP in the past two seasons only won six out-of-conference matches. It has already surpassed that mark with seven this year.
Mallory Yost had a historic outing against UIW at the Red Raider Classic. The middle blocker recorded 18 kills on just 28 swings, which produced a .593 hitting percentage. This scorching hot-hitting clip now sits in record books at third all-time in a five-set match for UTEP.
Cheyenne Jones is leading the Miners with 130 kills. She produced a career-high 24 kills versus UIW earlier in the year. Against Houston at the Red Raider Classic she locked in 17 kills on a .429 hitting clip, helping boost the Miners to a comeback victory. She has improved on her hitting percentage from last year (.186), posting a .236 hitting clip.
Libero Alex Torres made history against the Houston Cougars, notching 31 digs to become just the 15th player in program history to record 30+ digs in a match.
These matches will be live streamed at cusa.tv and live stats will be available.
LUBBOCK – The UTEP Volleyball team (7-6) defeated Houston (6-9) in five sets (20-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-15, 15-13), 3-2, on Saturday morning. The Miners fell to Texas Tech (10-4) in three sets (19-25, 23-25, 17-25) at United Supermarkets Arena later in the day.
The Miners have a winning record in non-conference play for the first time since 2011.
Alex Torres was sound at the libero spot for the Miners, and became the 15th player in program history to join the 30-dig club. She locked in 31 digs in the five-set thriller over the Cougars.
Cheyenne Jones had 17 kills, five blocks and a .429 hitting percentage in the first match versus Houston. Mallory Yost posted 12 kills on a .300 hitting percentage against the Cougars as well.
The Miners had to use a timeout early after falling behind 8-3 in the first set. UTEP battled, but were unable to recover from the early deficit and fell 25-20.
The Orange and Blue found themselves with an 11-8 advantage over the Cougars in the second frame. Houston outscored UTEP 17-8 the rest of the way to claim the set, 25-19, and the two game cushion.
It appeared that the Miners were going to go down in straight sets after an 8-3 run to open the set by the Cougars. However, UTEP had other plans, as it went on an 11-3 run to take a 14-11 lead. The Orange and Blue never looked back and took the frame, 25-23, to force a fourth set.
UTEP imposed its will on Houston in the fourth game. It cruised to a 25-15 victory and erased the two-set deficit, forcing a deciding fifth frame.
The Orange and Blue would carry this momentum all the way through the fifth set, claiming victory, 15-13, over the Cougars.
“Big win for our program, and for our team against Houston. To go down 2-0 against a pretty good and physical team, and win three straight is huge. Really to win those three straight pretty convincingly was great. The fifth set looked close, but we were in control the entire way. I had a lot of confidence in my team after the second set. We made some minor adjustments and tactical changes. We started serving it tougher and passing it better. We got everybody involved, and that was the big difference in the match. We stayed balanced; we set everybody and got offensive production from everyone. This is the first time we have beaten Houston since 2011, and in a lot of ways it shows the growth of our team. We showed some grit, resiliency and we played angrier. Which is what we have been asking them to do lately. Mallory (Yost) was big again. Cheyenne (Jones) had a great match on her birthday against a pretty good opponent and she took full advantage. Izela Alverez went in and played really well. Her and Serena (Patterson) were really important to keep us in system from the back row. It let us get Mallory the ball and she was unstoppable for the second match in a row.”
Versus Texas Tech
The first set was neck-and-neck with score 18-16 in favor of the Red Raiders. Texas Tech would outscore UTEP 7-3 the rest of the way to claim the frame, 25-19.
TTU came out hot with a 6-1 start. The Miners had to use the whole set to battle back into contention. The Orange and Blue finally got within one point at 24-23, but failed to stave off set point and fell, 25-23.
UTEP fell behind 10-5 in the first part of the frame and were unable to recover, falling to Texas Tech 25-17.
Next up, the Miners will begin conference play on Friday, Sept. 27 at Rice.
LUBBOCK – The UTEP Volleyball team (6-5) defeated UIW (4-8) in five sets (23-25, 25-16, 25-27, 25-22, 16-14), 3-2, on Friday evening at United Supermarkets Arena.
The Miners are sporting their best winning percentage (.545) through 11 games since 2011.
Mallory Yost put on a career performance with a career-high 18 kills, and the third-highest hitting percentage (.593, 18-2-27) in a five-set match in UTEP history.
Redshirt freshman Kenidy Howard put on a show in her first career start. The middle blocker posted 10 kills, and led the team with nine blocks. Kristen Fritsche paced the squad in assists (32) and racked up 15 digs. Serena Patterson locked in 12 kills, and Alianza Darley and Briana Arellano each added nine to the effort.
The Miners dropped the first set, 25-23, after suffering a 6-1 run that put the frame out of reach. Yost was hyper efficient with seven kills on eight attempts in game one.
UTEP jumped all over the Cardinals to begin set two with an 11-3 run. Patterson helped put the Miners in this position with four kills. The Orange and Blue never looked back, winning the set 25-16 with a .406 hitting percentage helping them along the way.
The third set saw six ties between to the two squads. The back-and-forth action came to a head when the Miners took a 25-24 lead off of a service ace from Syenna Masaki. However, UIW would rally with three straight points to claim the frame, 27-25.
In the fourth game UTEP was facing a 20-17 deficit in what could have been the final set of the contest. The Orange and Blue utilized a 5-0 run that propelled them to victory, and forced a deciding fifth frame.
If the Miners were going to win they would have to do it from behind once again. UTEP was down 10-7, but strung together a 4-1 run that tied the set at 11-11. The Orange and Blue were one point from defeat, 14-13, but dug deep to score three straight and finish of UIW, 16-14.
“Kenidy (Howard) came in and played really well for her first start. She hit for pretty good numbers. I think she had 10 kills, blocked a few balls and played hard. We didn’t get a chance to set her enough actually. She and Mallory (Yost) were honestly a difference in the match offensively. Mallory was unstoppable offensively for four of the five sets. To get 18 kills on 26 swings was a big deal. B.A. (Briana Arellano) came in and hit .300, and played pretty dang well. She defended hard and she saved a couple points in the fifth set for us. At 13-13 we called a timeout because we got aced. At 14-13 we were tough enough to three pass and get a kill. Then we defended hard and won 16-14. We aren’t playing well right now, but at least we found a way to win. We defended really hard at the end, and for long stretches just stayed in it. We didn’t give up and we didn’t quit. We just kept plugging away. We didn’t have our best volleyball but we found a way to win, which is a sign of a quality team. I am proud of our team for pulling it off, but I am still not pleased with how we are playing right now.”
Next up, the Miners will cap off their trip to Lubbock, Texas with a pair of matches against Houston (10 a.m. MT) and Texas Tech (6 p.m. MT) tomorrow.
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
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 UTEPMiners.com.
MISSOULA, Mt. – The UTEP volleyball team (5-5) swept Montana (0-8) (25-15, 25-18, 25-20) Saturday afternoon at the West Auxiliary Gym on the campus of Montana.
Hometown kid Cheyenne Jones locked in 10 kills to help carry the Miners to the sweep. Serena Patterson also logged 10 kills, with a .412 hitting percentage.
The reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Week, Irbe Lazda, recorded nine kills and four blocks on a scorching .533 hitting percentage. Syenna Masaki paced the team in assists with 20, and Alex Torres led the way with nine digs. Mallory Yost also added four blocks to the effort.
With the victory, UTEP has now matched last year’s win total only 10 games into the season.
The Miners came out firing on all cylinders to begin the first set. UTEP began with a 7-3 run and never looked back, taking the set 25-15. The Orange and Blue posted a .462 hitting percentage to the Grizzlies .000 hitting percentage.
UTEP was led by Jones and Patterson in the frame, who posted five kills each.
The Orange and Blue continued their dominance from the first set with a 7-1 run to begin the second frame. Montana was unable to get back into the fgame due to UTEP’s play at the net, with Lazda and Yost stifling its attack. The Miners would roll to a 25-18 victory, and a two-set advantage.
UTEP came out with another hot start, stringing together a 6-1 run. However, the Grizzlies would fight back, tying the set at 12-12. The Miners were boasting a one-point lead, 21-20, and then finished things off with a 4-0 run to take the frame and complete the sweep.
Lazda carried the offensive workload, posting five kills in the set to help cap off the match.
“I thought it was a good team win. We had six attackers hit for really good percentages. We passed it really well, and we have been passing it really well for most of the year. We were relentless in digging, and keeping the ball off the ground, which we hadn’t done all weekend. We were a mess defensively all weekend, but today we weren’t. We got back to attacking it from the service line which was great.”
“We didn’t make the ridiculous give the point to the other team errors that we did all day yesterday. Some of that is youth and inexperience, but it is also a skill deficiency. That is my job to get them back in the gym, and to teach them how to end points better. We have to teach them how to defend harder, and be in the right places better. Everything that we are struggling with I know how to fix, so we will get back in the gym and fix it. Cheyenne (Jones) was playing inspired, because she was playing in front of her hometown crowd.”
“Her team wanted to win for her. Serena (Patterson) and Anamarija (Mikovic) put up big numbers on the left. Irbe (Lazda) and Mallory (Yost) were working really hard in transition. Once those four players started scoring it opened up our right-side attack. Then in the third set our right-side players went off too. This was our best offensive match of the year, and our setters did a really good job of listening to Nick (Petrovic).”
“This was a team we should have beat, and a team we executed really well against for two thirds of the match. I am happy to get out of Montana with a victory, but myself and the players are disappointed in our weekend. We are going to get back home and fix some of our deficiencies. We are going to get ready for Texas Tech, Houston and Incarnate Word this week.”
Next up, the Miners take a trip to Lubbock, Texas next weekend to take part in the Red Raider Classic.