MISSOULA, Mt. – The UTEP Volleyball team (4-5) fell to CSU Bakersfield (2-5) in five sets (22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-17, 13-15), 3-2, on Friday morning.
The Miners also dropped a match to Montana State (3-4) in three sets (27-29, 22-25 19-25), later in the day at the West Auxiliary Gym on Montana’s campus.
Versus CSU Bakersfield
Serena Patterson led the way for the Miners with 17 kills on a .333 hitting percentage. Anamarija Mikovic (11), Alianza Darley (10) and Cheyenne Jones (10) all logged double-digit kills. Mallory Yost led the team in blocks (five) and Jones posted four of her own. Syenna Masaki and Kristen Fritsche both tallied 25 assists a piece.
The Miners were playing from behind the whole first set, but after back-to-back aces from Mikovic and a kill from Irbe Lazda, the Miners took an 18-17 lead. The Roadrunners responded with a 6-1 run, regaining the lead and the momentum. UTEP would fight back, cutting the deficit to 24-22, but could not get any closer.
The Orange and Blue took complete control of the second set, after jumping out to an 11-6 advantage. Darley asserted herself with four kills in the game, and boosted the Miners to a 25-19 set victory.
UTEP carried that momentum into the third frame, dominating their way to a 25-18 victory, and took a 2-1 set advantage.
The Miners were in store for an epic fourth game with CSU Bakersfield. UTEP went up 20-15, but the Roadrunners battled their way back into the set with a 7-2 run, tying things up. The frame would see another tie at 25-25, but the Miners came out on the losing end, forcing a deciding fifth set.
The fifth frame saw back-and-forth action all throughout. UTEP created separation late in the set, posting a 13-11 lead and forcing a timeout from the Roadrunners. CSU Bakersfield came out of the huddle on fire, stringing together four straight points to claim the set, 15-13, and the match.
Versus Montana State
Mikovic led the offense with eight kills. Yost and Darley both added six kills each to the effort. Yost, Darley and Lazda all posted three blocks for the match.
UTEP came out slow to enter the first set. It quickly found itself down 10-3 to open things up. The Miners would bounce back with a 9-3 run to tie the frame at 12-12. Each team would then take turns throwing their best punch. The set featured 12 ties and the Miners faced set point on three different occasions. However, the Orange and Blue would eventually fall, 29-27.
The Bobcats once again came out ahead of the Miners with a 7-3 advantage. UTEP would climb its way back into the set, finally tying the frame at 16-16. Unfortunately, the Miners could not put together enough points to take the set, losing 25-22 and facing a two-set deficit.
The Miners were dealing with a one point disadvantage, 11-10, when Montana State strung together a 5-1 run to open up its lead. The Orange and Blue were unable to get any closer, and ultimately fell, 25-19, and dropped the match in straight sets.
The Miners will cap off their trip to Big Sky Country with a match against Montana on Saturday at 12 p.m. MT.