Tuesday , October 17 2017
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UTEP Volleyball Falls at Southern Miss

HATTIESBURG, Ms. – UTEP outside hitter Macey Austin turned in a solid performance, tallying 14 kills with only one error and hammered a career-high .565 clip, but Southern Miss was too much for the Miners in the last two sets to pull away with a 3-0 victory (25-23, 25-14, 25-15) in Hattiesburg on Monday afternoon.

The match was made up from an Oct. 8 scheduled date that was postponed due to Tropical Storm Nate.

During the first set, the Miners (4-16, 1-6 Conference USA) battled with the Golden Eagles (14-8, 4-2 C-USA), taking an early 6-3 edge after Austin registered her first kill of the day. And following an outside hitter Briana Arellano kill, UTEP took an 8-5 lead.

But Southern Miss responded as it used a 5-0 run to go on top, 10-8.

The Golden Eagles’ rally ended with a service error by Natalie Druhan and UTEP would eventually tie the set at 12-12 after an Austin kill that was assisted by Amanda King. Southern Miss led most of the way down the stretch as it took a 20-17 lead. However, the Miners rallied to tie the set at 20-20 before the Golden Eagles outscored their opponent 5-3 to secure the first-set victory.

In the second set, the Miners led early 9-8 after a ball handling error by Sarah Bell. Austin came out firing early during the second stanza as she tallied four kills. But Southern Miss used 12 answered points to take a commanding 20-9 advantage and would go on to win the second set 25-14.

UTEP, again, would keep pace with Southern Miss to begin the third set. With the score 6-4, in favor of the Golden Eagles, the Miners used back-to-back points to tie the set after a kill by outside hitter Cheyenne Jones and a service error by Madison Lawler. But Southern Miss was hard to sustain down the stretch and outscored the Miners 19-9 to take the overall match.

Austin only committed one error as she registered 14 kills on 23 total attempts (.565). Arellano finished with 10 hits, while Jones recorded three kills on 10 total attempts (one error). Middle blocker Mallory Yost and middle blocker Maddie Morgan each registered a kill. Defensive specialist Niki Cebak led with seven digs and King recorded a team-leading 26 assists. The Miners recorded six service aces, led by outside hitter Ashley Grzebeniak and Cebak, who each tallied a pair.

UTEP will take the road this upcoming weekend to play at C-USA leaders WKU (21-2, 7-0 C-USA) on Oct. 20 (5 p.m. MT) and Rice (16-5, 6-1 C-USA) on Oct. 22 (noon). The Miners upset the Owls, 3-2 (28-26, 16-25, 25-22, 19-25, 19-14), on Sept. 22 in Memorial Gym.

The Miners and Hilltoppers will meet for the only time this season. UTEP fell at WKU, 3-0, on Oct. 21, 2016.

Miner Men’s Golf In Third at Herb Wimberly

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Fueled by a second round team score of 284, the UTEP Men’s Golf Team jumped two spots to end day one of the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate in third place at the NM State Golf Course in Las Cruces, N.M. on Monday.

The team shot a total of 6-over 574 (290-284) to remain 13 strokes back from field leader and tournament host NM State. The Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate will conclude tomorrow, beginning with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. MT.

“I think we played a little bit better in the afternoon,” head coach Scott Lieberwirth said. “The greens are a bit faster here, so that morning round set us back. We’re going to need a big day tomorrow.”

In the top-10 of the field, seniors Prescott Mann and Charles Corner both finished the day at 1-under 141 for a share of sixth place. Both led the team with seven birdies each, including five in round two for Mann and five in round one for Corner. Mann shot a round one score of 72, but the five birdies ignited his play for a round two score of 69. Mann is second in the field in par 3 scoring with a 2.75 average (-2). Similarly, Corner had a round one score of 69, including a string of three consecutive birdies, and finished the day with a round two score of 72.

Making his Herb Wimberly debut, Eduardo Gonzales fired an opening round of 75, followed by a round two of 71 for a 4-over 146 total and a tie for 21st. Gonzales carded five birdies for the day.

In another tie between UTEP teammates, senior Nicklas Pihl and junior Aaron Terrazas are both in 33rd place after a 6-over 148 showing. Pihl shot a rounds of 76 and 72 while Terrazas, who is second in the field in pars with 28, fired two rounds of 74. In their steady rounds, Pihl tallied three birdies while Terrazas carded one.

Three other Miners, Santiago Castilla, Ricardo Catalan, and Settavut Paradee, also had strong showings as individuals in the field. Castilla, a transfer from Cypress College who joined the Miners this season, notched five birdies to tie for 26th with a 5-over 147 (70-77) performance. Catalan bounced back from a round one score of 78 to shoot a round two of 70 for a 6-over 148 showing and a share of 33rd place. The redshirt freshman started the second round on the right foot, carding an eagle on a par 5 on his starting hole for the team’s first eagle of the season. Paradee rounded out the UTEP showing with a 7-over 149 (75-74) showing in a steady round that saw three birdies.

Together, the Miners are second in the field in pars with 120.

“We know how to play it [the course], we know what to expect, its just a matter of execution and managing our emotions,” Lieberwirth said. “It’s imperative that we get momentum early tomorrow. If we do that, we might make it interesting.”

Live stats of the final round of the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate can be found at golfstat.com

UTEP Researcher Furthers Studies on Lung Cancer

Rachid Skouta, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, received $109,300 from the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Technologìa via The University of Texas System for a two-year study.

His postdoctoral fellowship will focus on the identification of small molecules that inhibit certain proteins in non-small cell lung cancer.

“We are delighted to receive this award to continue our exciting research projects toward the development of potential drugs to overcome resistance in lung cancer,” Skouta said. “We hope that our research projects will aid to further advancements in the field that may have a big impact in the Paso del Norte region.”

Skouta’s research at UTEP’s Border Biomedical Research Center (BBRC) involves developing new drugs with specific mechanisms for targeted cell death to overcome drug resistance. His studies initiated when he joined UTEP in 2014 and include computer simulation and laboratory created molecules.

One of Skouta’s ultimate goals is to understand the proliferation of lung cancer cells using medicinal chemistry and drug development skills. Lung cancer is currently the top cancer killer worldwide.

Skouta says oncologists are making tremendous efforts to uncover the molecular mechanisms involved in order to prevent or cure the disease.

UTEP Falls To Middle Tennessee 3-1

Lauren Crenshaw (66′) scored her second goal of the season but UTEP couldn’t overcome a sluggish start in a 3-1 setback to Middle Tennessee at University Field Sunday evening.

“It’s hard to beat a conference team when you put yourself in a hole like that,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “I thought we had the better run of play and the more chances. It seemed like a few of those were going to go in and they didn’t go in.”

The Blue Raiders (7-7, 4-3 Conference USA) received first-half goals from Taylor Hatch (5′) and Sam DeBien (19′) to put the Miners (6-10, 2-5 C-USA) in a 2-0 halftime deficit before Crenshaw got the home side on the board midway through the second half.

UTEP was unable to find the equalizer, though, with Middle Tennessee tacking on a goal with six seconds to play in the game from Peyton DePriest (90′)

UTEP had the run of play in the contest, outshooting Middle Tennesse 22-12 and holding a 6-0 advantage in corner kicks. Alyssa Palacios registered one save in the match while visiting GK Sydney Chalcraft turned away seven chances.

Middle Tennessee got on the board first when a misplay by the Miner defense led to a wide-open look at the net for Hatch in the fifth minute. She took advantage, easily putting it away.

The Miners regrouped, finding some space to work with for Carleigh Simmons in the seventh minute. She fired the shot but Chalcraft registered a diving save.
The visitors took advantage of a foul deep in UTEP territory to push their lead to 2-0. The ball was played into the box where a sliding DeBien managed to one-time the shot past Palacios in the 19th minute.

Three minutes later the Orange and Blue were back on the offensive, looking to cut into the Blue Raiders’ 2-0 lead. Jeanna Mullen fired the shot but Chalcraft came up with the stop.

Crenshaw made a fantastic run in the 38th minute before unleashing a high-arching shot. Chalcraft waited and then at the last second leapt to punch it over the net for a UTEP corner kick. The Miners, though, were unable to convert on the chance.

UTEP had another corner kick in the 43rd minute which led to a good look for Hannah Burbank. On a bouncing ball she one-timed the shot toward the net but Chalcraft smothered the shot. After Middle Tennessee cleared the ball, the Miners regained possession and raced up the pitch. Vic Bohdan ended up with the ball on the left wing and rocketed it on net only to have Chalcraft fight it off for her fifth save of the half.

Bohdan had a great look to start the second half. She drilled a shot that cruelly clanked off the post.

Kennadie Chaudhary recorded a pair of shots then but both went wide, including one in the 54th minute.

Palacios registered a save on a free kick in the 64th minute, skillfully tracking the long-distance shot.

The Miners then went back on the offensive where Crenshaw buried the shot inside the far left post past a diving Chalcraft to make the score 2-1.

Bohdan fired a low, hard shot in the 75th minute but this time Chalcraft was able to deliver the save.

UTEP then earned a couple of corner kicks and put the ball into the box but it was unable to generate a shot on either occasion.

Aylin Villalobos had a chance on a free kick with a minute left in the game but fired it up over the goal. Middle Tennessee then counter attacked, managing to spring DePriest in alone and she put away the chance past Palacios on the breakaway.

UTEP will look to get back on track when it battles Marshall on “Senior Night” at 7 p.m. MT Thursday.

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Gallery+Story: UTEP Volleyball Falls In Three To UTSA

Macey Austin notched her sixth double-digit kill match in a row, but the UTEP Volleyball Team suffered a 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-15) loss to Conference USA foe UTSA on Sunday in Memorial Gym.

The Miners fell to 1-5 in league play, while the Roadrunners improved to 5-1.

“At the beginning of the first set we came out really hot,” head coach Holly Watts said. “We just need to keep that momentum going by getting our passes where we want them. We’ve developed some parts of our game that is really going to help us down the road.”

Austin hammered 13 kills against the Roadrunners to lead to Miner offensive effort, and Amanda King dished out 21 assists to lead the squad. Defensively, UTEP saw double-digit digs from Dania Orozco and Ashley Grzebeniak. Orozco picked up 10 digs while Grzebeniak led the team with 12.

Aiding the defense was freshman Mallory Yost, who put together another nice blocking effort, notching the team’s lone solo block and a block assist, while King teamed up for two block assists. The Miners saw service aces from Niki Cebak, Briana Arellano and Grzebeniak, who each had one.

The Miners got off to a hot 8-0 run to open the match behind kills from Yost and Austin and blocks from Kylie Baumgartner, Yost and King, forcing a UTSA timeout. Following the break, UTSA’s Brianna McCulloch ignited a 3-0 run for the Roadrunners to notch their first points of the game. UTSA would piece together three more runs to tie the set at 16. As the Roadrunners began to get ahead, King fed Austin for three consecutive kills to tie the set at 21 and force a UTSA timeout. Out of the timeout, UTSA’s Hannah Froeschl and Austin mirrored each other’s kills, but back-to-back kills by the visitors would bring up set point. Arellano notched a kill to give the Miners opportunity, but UTSA ended the set 25-23 from Marijeta Runjic’s kill.

Set two saw the Miners again striking first for two unanswered points before the Roadrunners’ McCulloch stopped King’s attack with a block to put UTSA on the board. The two in-state foes would tie six times before the Runners began to pull away to a 17-13 lead. Baumgartner’s kill would stop the run, but UTSA matched her kill, as well as Cheyenne Jones’ kill, to keep a 19-15 lead.

The Miners capitalized on two of their opponent’s errors, but UTSA went off on another 3-0 run to stay up 22-17. Arellano and Yost would find the hardwood on their attacks to bring the Miners within three, but the Roadrunners put the set away 25-19 off a kill, block, and service ace.

A 3-0 run in set three put UTEP up before UTSA got an earned point from a service error. The Miners stretched out to a 8-3 lead before the Roadrunners rallied to tie the set at 11-all. The teams would tie four more times before UTSA went on a 9-0 run to end the set 25-15, and the match 3-0.

“Our energy was better today than on Friday, which helped us play really well against a very good UTSA squad,” Austin said. “There are still some small plays that made the difference in this game that we didn’t capitalize on that we need to fix. It’s one thing to work on those things in practice, we just need to execute them in the game.”

The Miners will play their third game in four days as they head to Hattiesburg, M.S. to face Southern Miss tomorrow. The match, which was postponed last week due to Tropical Storm Nate, will begin at 12 p.m. MT.

Gallery by Andres Acosta, Chief Photographer, El Paso Herald-Post

Miner Men’s Golf Heads Up Interstate 10 For Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate

The UTEP Men’s Golf Team will make the short drive up Interstate 10 to compete in the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate, hosted by NM State, October 16 and 17 in Las Cruces.

Play at the NMSU Golf Course (par 71/ 7,242 yards) will begin with 36 holes on Monday and finish with the final 18 on Tuesday. It will mark the first of the final two fall tournaments for the Miners, with the last being their own Price’s Give ‘Em Five Invitational slated for Oct. 20-22.

“The conditions are identical to what we play and practice in everyday, so there’s no adjustment there, we know the golf course very well,” head coach Scott Lieberwirth said. “We’re excited about coming home, the last two courses that we’ve played, up at UNM (University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course) and Erin Hills were both very difficult. I think for us right now, New Mexico State and our tournament [Price’s Give ‘Em Five Invitational], the last two of fall, are going to be much more score-able, which I think is something that our guys are looking forward to.”

The Miners will join the 12-team field which consists of host NM State, Abilene Christian, reigning tournament champion Grand Canyon, Incarnate Word, McMurry University, Odessa JC, Oral Roberts, UTEP, UTRGV, Western Illinois, Western New Mexico and Wichita State.

At last season’s Herb Wimberly, UTEP finished in second place after posting one-under-par 851 (286-286-279). Grand Canyon won the title after firing a 15-under-par 837 (277-280-280).

“I think this could be an extremely pivotal tournament for our entire season, that if we can play and finish high here and finish first or second, and then turnaround and parlay that into a strong finish at our home tournament, that’ll really help our fall [season] and send us off on the right note,” Lieberwirth said.

A familiar core will make up the UTEP line-up in seniors Charles Corner, Nicklas Pihl and Prescott Mann, as well as juniors Aaron Terrazas and Settavut Paradee, and sophomore Ricardo Catalan, while new weapons in Eduardo Gonzalez and transfer Santiago Castilla will make their debut.

The Miners have seen consistent play from Terrazas, who is coming off a top-20 finish at the competitive Marquette Intercollegiate. The junior put together three strong rounds at the Erin Hills Golf Course, site of the US Open in June (par 72/7,722 yards), for a share of 12th place with 3-over 219 (70-76-73).

Corner, Pihl and Mann will be no strangers to the NMSU Golf Course. At last season’s tournament, Corner tied for seventh after shooting even-par 213 (72-68-73), Pihl finished with a share of 37th after an 8-over 221 (73-76-72) showing and Mann shot an 11-over-par 224 (73-77-74) to tie for 45th. Both Pihl and Mann have been UTEP’s top-finisher at least once this season.

Paradee also has a top finish for his team this season, as he joined Mann in pacing the Miners in his share of 13th place at the Gene Miranda Invitational after firing a tournament total of 4-under 212 .

“If we get back to doing the things we know how to do, hitting fairways, hitting greens, being smart, managing our ball properly around the golf course, leaving ourselves in good positions, stuff like that, where we do well, that’s our strength,” Lieberwirth said. “That’s what’s going to allow us to finish really high in the field in tournaments. When you get to the more difficult courses, that’s easier said than done. We’re going back to a more score-able course now, so that should be easier to do.”

For Lieberwirth, the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate is almost like a second home tournament for his team. Lieberwirth spent eight years as NM State’s head golf coach before being named UTEP’s head coach in 2011.

“With my experience up there [NM State], I can pass some of the finer points off to our players that I feel gives us an advantage over the other visiting teams,” Lieberwirth said.

“But at the end of the day, it’s going to boil down to execution. I think in the last week we’ve done a little bit of a better job in that, but come tournament time, that’s what’s going to separate us from winning or not winning. I think from a talent perspective, we’ve got no problem in that category. We’ve got plenty of talent, our guys have all the ability in the world to play and finish these next two tournaments well.”

Live scoring will be available via golfstat.com.

Southern Miss Defeats Miners 24-0

HATTIESBURG, MS. – Ito Smith rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns, spoiling a solid performance by the UTEP defense as Southern Miss shut out the Miners, 24-0, on Saturday night at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

The Miners (0-7, 0-3 C-USA) allowed 286 yards through three quarters before finally wearing down in the final period, when Southern Miss (4-2, 2-1 C-USA) scored the game’s final 10 points.

The Miners finished with six first downs and 147 yards of offense.

“Southern Miss is a good team,” UTEP interim head coach Mike Price said.  “Their back is really good.  I thought he did a nice job for them.  We were just awful on offense.”

The Golden Eagles got on the board with 8:26 remaining in the first quarter when Keon Howard threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jaylond Adams.

After that, the defense stepped up and limited Southern Miss to 102 yards on its next five drives.  The Miners also forced a season-high three turnovers in the first half as Devin Cockrell and Kahani Smith picked off passes, and Sky Logan recovered a fumble.

But the defense was put in a precarious position when Kevin Dove fumbled at the UTEP one-yard line in the final minute of the half.  On the next play, Smith plowed into the end zone for his first score (two yards) and the Golden Eagles were up 14-0 at the midway point.

“I thought in the first half we were really off,” Price said.  “Offensively, obviously, we were off the whole game.  That was hard for anyone to take.”

The defense continued to shine in the third quarter but finally broke in the final period, when Southern Miss completed a 13-play, 80-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown run by Smith.  Later, the Golden Eagles tacked on a 38-yard field goal by Parker Shaunfield.

Zack Greenlee started at quarterback for the Miners and completed 5-of-10 passes for 63 yards before getting injured.  His replacement, Ryan Metz, finished 9-of-17 passing for 67 yards with an interception.

UTEP wasn’t able to get the ground game percolating as it gained 17 yards on 22 carries.  Terry Juniel led the Miners in the passing attack with five catches for 46 yards.  Juniel also had a couple of kickoff returns for 75 yards with a long of 38.

Southern Miss quarterback Howard threw for 221 yards, completing 16-of-27 passes with a TD and two interceptions.  Adams tallied 104 yards on a pair of receptions.

Southern Miss recorded 423 yards of offense, with 303 coming on four drives (40 plays).  The rest of the night, the Golden Eagles managed 120 yards on 32 plays.

Alvin Jones led the Miners with 10 tackles.  Devin Cockrell, Dante Lovilotte, Dylan Parsee and Smith added six tackles apiece.

“A lot of kids stepped it up [on defense],” Price said.  “Man, at times our defense just played wonderful.  They never gave up the whole game and just gave everything they’ve got.”

The Miners have their bye week coming up and will return to action in the Sun Bowl on Saturday, Oct. 28 against UTSA.  Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. MT.


UTEP’s Koech Earns Top 10 Finish At Pre-Nationals

Louisville, Ky – UTEP sophomore Winny Koech notched an impressive 10th-place finish at the NCAA Divsion I Pre-National Invitational Saturday morning at the E.P. “Tom Sawyer” State Park, hosted by Louisville.

“Winny had a very impressive performance today,” head coach Paul Ereng said. ” She didn’t have a very good start to the season but with this performance she showed she is among the elite in the country.”

Koech completed the women’s 6K race with a time of 20:03.3 in a competitive field of 288 runners. Teammate Lilian Koech followed by finishing in 26th overall, clocking a time of 20:23.1.

Sophomore Linda Cheruiyot clocked a season-best 21:12.2 to finish 100th overall. Closing out the race for the Miners were the three freshmen, Andrea Lucero (24:52.8), Carolyne Chepkosgei (24:57.6) and Destiny White (28:08.1).

The women’s team finished 28th overall in a field of 43 teams, recording a total score of 693.

On the men’s side, Antony Kosgei led the Miners by notching a 22nd-place finish with a time of 24:49.1. Freshman Cornelius Kapel garnered a 32nd-place finish (24:59.4) in his Pre-National Invitational debut.

Closing out the men’s 8K race were Carvellion Horn (39:13.0) and Asa Guevara (40:52.0).

The Orange and Blue will return to action on Oct. 28 for the Conference USA Championship in Hattiesburg, Miss.

New UTEP Insectarium Targets Mosquito-borne Disease Research

Most of us want mosquitos to go away when we see them, but one group of researchers at The University of Texas at El Paso doesn’t mind them.

Douglas Watts, Ph.D., co-director of infectious disease and immunology for UTEP’s Border Biomedical Research Center, and Camilo Khatchikian, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences, are leading researchers in the College of Science’s new insectary to find out more about mosquitoes, specifically Aedes aegypti.

“The (aedes aegypti) mosquito is very common in El Paso and is of high importance as a public health threat,” Khatchikian said. “It is responsible for the transmission of many viruses, including Zika, dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya that have a significant impact on human health … they are in our backyard and because of that, a large portion of the population is exposed to many diseases that these mosquitoes can vector.”

The UTEP insectarium, inside the Biology Building, has been operational for about six months and currently houses mosquitoes in different stages of development.

“It is really about UTEP working to address challenging border health issues through its research,” said College of Science Dean Robert A. Kirken, Ph.D. “Camilo is a unique addition to our team because many scientists work with a virus that comes from the mosquito, but do not work with the mosquito itself. He studies the entire infectious cycle beginning with how a mosquito can acquire and then transmit the virus.”

MESL ( Mosquito Ecology Surveillance Laboratory)- Albert Soliz

The insectarium has allowed faculty to implement independent research projects, and it has provided a critically needed support facility for the ongoing surveillance of mosquitoes for arthropod-borne viruses, such as dengue, West Nile and others, and the surveillance of kissing bugs for Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease.

“This allows for more insight into mosquito human physiology and thus the opportunity to develop new therapeutic strategies to stop the spread of such infectious agents from numerous angles,” Kirken added. “The insectarium allows for other UTEP faculty to consider these models for their own research with this state-of-the-art containment lab to take this type of research to a whole new level.”

The insectary also provides a laboratory that will serve to train undergraduate students who are members of the college’s Mosquito Ecology and Surveillance Laboratory (MESL) under the direction of Cindy Crews.

“The insectary has already provided the capability to maintain colonies of mosquitoes that are critical for supporting my graduate students’ research on the evaluation of Aedes aegypti as a vector of dengue viruses and has provided a source of this mosquito species for collaborative studies with colleagues studying the role of reproductive inhibition as a control strategy for Aedes aegypti,” Watts said.

Pedro Palermo came to UTEP from Peru to study under Watts for his doctoral degree. He has been working on collecting mosquito colonies from different parts of the city and other border communities.

“If we identify that mosquitoes from these border communities can be infected with dengue viruses, there is a possibility that the mosquitoes will spread the disease into El Paso and other border communities,” Palermo explained. The insectary provides an opportunity to study various aspects of the biology and vector role of medically important mosquitoes that can benefit public health locally and globally.

“This facility allows us to do several things with medically important arthropods ” Khatchikian said. “We can rear them and are able to perform experiments related to their adaptation to the environment. We can collect live specimens and bring them to the insectary for identification, collection of genetic material, and test of their responses to various environmental conditions. This is critical to understand where the mosquitoes are coming from and how they are moving within the city to deploy control and mitigation efforts.”

There is no question that the addition of the facility provides an invaluable opportunity for students studying to become researchers, especially to become medical entomologists.

“Pedro could not conduct his research for his Ph.D. without the availability of an insectary because his career interest and goal is to become a molecular virologist with emphasis on mosquito-borne diseases,” Watts explained. “Thus, to achieve his graduate school research goals, he must have the insectary to conduct vector competence studies on Aedes aegypti for dengue viruses, a project that will contribute significantly to the understanding of the potential threat of dengue viruses to human health in the El Paso/Ciudad Juárez community.”

The Biosafety Level 3 laboratory and other Biosafety Level 2 laboratories at UTEP that involve research on vector-borne viral and parasitic diseases are essential to support any research done in the insectary.

“For now the insectary contains mosquitoes in various stages of development and different temperature controlled environments, but in the future other insects may be housed there,” Watts said. “For example, the insectary will provide a safe containment laboratory not only to work safely with live mosquitoes, but also with other medically important arthropods, such as kissing bugs and ticks. It is certain that the insectary will enable UTEP to expand its research programs and offer new opportunities to faculty, staff and students to train and conduct research on medically important arthropods and pathogens that have a significant impact on human health in the border communities.”

The insectarium also enhances the work of the Border Biomedical Research Center, established 25 years ago to lessen the disparity in health status for Hispanics and shed light on issues unique to the border region and its population.

“We hope to work with regional scientists, hospitals, county health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on these types of challenging projects that impact the people in the Paso del Norte region,” Kirken said.

Author:  Lauren Macias-Cervantes – UTEP Communications

Miners Snatch Set One, But Fall to North Texas

The UTEP Volleyball Team came out firing to take set one, but could not hold on as the league’s second-ranked team in North Texas took the four set victory on Friday at Memorial Gym.

UTEP’s momentum earned them the 30-28 set one win, but North Texas came back to take the final three sets 25-12, 25-21, and 25-23. The Miners fell to 1-4 in Conference USA play, while the Mean Green improved to 5-1.

“We really competed against a very good team today,” head coach Holly Watts said. “I’m really proud of our team’s effort, we did the things we worked on in our game plan. There’s just a few adjustments we need that can make the difference.”

C-USA’s ninth-ranked hitter in Macey Austin added another double-digit kill match to her resume, her 10th of the season and fifth in a row, as she found the hardwood 17 times against the Mean Green. Austin was hitting at an impressive .433 clip.

Briana Arellano contributed 14 kills of her own in front of her hometown crowd, while also adding eight digs and two service aces. Senior Amanda King dished out 46 assists to lead the team while recording six digs. Defensively, Mallory Yost manned the net with two solo blocks and two block assists while Niki Cebak and Ashley Grzebeniak kept the Mean Green offense working, picking up 14 and 11 digs, respectively.

In total, the Miners tallied 48 kills, 48 assists, five service aces, 51 digs and nine total team blocks while the Mean Green recorded 65 kills, 60 assists, four service aces, 65 digs and six total team blocks.

“We created some hitting errors against North Texas and they have one of the highest hitting percentages in the NCAA,” Watts said. “We have to handle the digs a little bit better to get our setter in the right position. They were a hot team coming in and we held our own against a solid squad.”

North Texas got out to a 4-0 lead in set one before Austin made her presence known with her first kill of the match. The Miners would climb out of the deficit to tie the set at 13 behind three Austin kills, a Maddie Morgan kill, and a 3-0 run from kills by Cheyenne Jones, Yost and Arellano. A bad set by the Mean Green’s Karley York would put the Miners up by one and prompt a North Texas timeout.

The Mean Green came out to a 3-0 burst out of the timeout, before Arellano stopped the run with her third kill of the set and Jones served up an ace to bring the Miners within one, 18-17, of North Texas. The two teams exchanged points before the Miners got back to back points from another Austin kill and King’s service ace to tie the set at 23.

A Miner set error would bring set point, but Austin spoiled it with a kill to even the score at 24. Both teams would exchange service errors, but a block assist by Yost and Jones gave the Miners the 26-25 edge.

North Texas would respond with two consecutive kills to bring up their set point, but Jones forced more extra points when her hit found the hardwood and Yost stopped an attack with her first solo block. Another UTEP service error tied the set at 28, but the Miners were able to close out the set after Arellano recorded another kill and the Mean Green’s attack went out of bounds for the 30-28 victory.

The Mean Green bounced back to dominate set two with a 25-12 win, but the Miners stayed competitive, tying with North Texas 10 times in set three before the Mean Green began to pull away at 20-17. King would surprise the North Texas defense with a setter’s dump to bring her team within two, but back-to-back North Texas kills gave them the 22-18 advantage.

Yost’s kill gave the Miners momentum and forced a timeout by the visitors, and the Mean Green’s kill by Alexis Wright was met immediately after with her teammate’s service error. Austin’s kill helped bring the score to 23-21, but it was the last UTEP point as the Mean Green put the set away at 25-21.

Propelled by nine kills, four of which came from Austin’s swing, the Miners were able comeback from a 10-6 hole to get within one of North Texas, 15-14. Yost was able to notch another kill off a King assist and Ashley Grzebeniak matched a North Texas kill to stay within one at 17-16. Jones and Kylie Baumgartner teamed up for a huge block assist to tie the set at 17.

North Texas was able to pull to a 22-19 lead, but two consecutive attack errors again brought the Miners within one. UTEP would see two more points off of kills from Yost and Austin, but the Mean Green ran away with the 25-23 set four win, and the 3-1 match victory.

“I feel like we were almost content with the first set and took our foot off the gas pedal, which let them get back into the game,” King said. “We fought back for the rest of the game, not giving them anything easy for the remainder of the game. There were a couple plays which we couldn’t capitalize on which made the difference in this game and if we can get those plays to go our way, we can put ourselves in position to win.”

The Miners will return to action on Sunday against UTSA. First serve against the Roadrunners is slated for noon at Memorial Gym, fans who wear pink will gain free admission.

Miner Tennis Records Three Wins On Second Day of ITA Mountain Regional

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- Three wins were the highlight of UTEP’s second day of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Mountain Regional Tournament on Thursday in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Miners are playing in the consolation bracket of the tournament at the George S. Eccles Tennis Center.

“We competed much better today,” first-year head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”

Freshman Erandi Martinez slipped by Southern Utah’s Mikala Lowrance, dropping the first set 2-6 but rallying to take the match with 7-5 set two win and followed with a 10-3 triumph in the third set. The win marked Martinez’s fifth win in the fall season.

Senior Lois Wagenvoort followed suit, handling Yadira Rubio, of rival NM State, 6-3, 7-5. Freshman Milena Baigorria completed the trio of victories with her 6-3, 6-2 dominance of Boise State’s Jovana Kuljanin.

In other action, junior Maria Paula Medina fell to Vanessa Timm of Boise State 6-4, 6-3, and freshman Alisa Morozova dropped to Weber State’s Tereza Plizova 6-2, 6-1.

The Miners will each play one more singles bout and two doubles matches tomorrow before heading back to El Paso on Saturday.

UTEP Cross Country Prepares to Compete at Pre-Nationals

The UTEP men’s and women’s cross country teams are set to take the field to compete at the NCAA Division I Pre-National Invitational this Saturday.

The Miners are ready to jump back into action, joining 62 men’s teams and 69 women’s teams from across the nation.

Hosted by Louisville, the meet will take place at the E.P. “Tom Sawyer” State Park in Louisville, Ky. The action will start with the men’s 8K Blue race at 7:55 a.m. MT.

Last year’s showing saw the men’s team clinch a sixth-place finish overall with a total of 258 points, just finishing outside the top five by three points to then-ranked No. 13 Indiana (255 points). Junior Antony Kosgei makes his return to national meet after an impressive performance capturing 10th place in a time of 24:13.1. Sophomore Michael Saruni finished 32nd overall clocking a time of 24:35.5.

Freshman Cornelius Kapel will make his debut at the national stage for the Orange and Blue. The freshman showed he can compete at this stage after his performance at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, garnering 26th overall with a time of 25:28.6.

Competing for the women’s team will be Lilian Koech, Winny Koech, Linda Cheruiyot and three freshmen Andrea Lucero, Destiny White and Carolyne Chepkosgei.

Winny Koech boasted an impressive performance at last year’s stint as she led the Miners during her first career 6K race, cruising to a third-place finish with a time of 20:57.6. in a course of 167 runners.

Lilian Koech (21:07.2) and Cheruiyot (21:45.7) also had big performances for the Orange and Blue finishing fifth and 21st, respectively.

Fans can follow @UTEPTrack on Twitter and Instagram for live updates and results.

El Paso Community College Awarded $327k NIH Grant

El Paso Community College (EPCC) was awarded a grant in the amount of $327,501 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project Rise to the Challenge Bridge which is a collaborative effort between EPCC, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and New Mexico State University (NMSU).

The Rise to the Challenge Bridge project is intended to increase transfer, retention and for students to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences.

Supplemental Instruction, Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences, which introduces research to all students enrolled in a course, and individual student research internships with faculty teams from the three institutions are the core elements of the program.

EPCC has received close to half million dollars each year for the past 16 years to provide student research training opportunities and implement supplemental instruction in Biology, Chemistry and Math courses to enhance student learning.

“EPCC students at the freshman and sophomore level have been able to participate in scientific activities that most students don’t get to do until they are seniors or in graduate school including participation in research projects, presentations at national conferences bringing at least one award per year, and being co-authors in professional journal articles.” Dr. Maria Alvarez, Rise to the Challenge Bridge Program Director.

EPCC was the first community college to be funded by the Research Initiative Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program. To date, 159 EPCC RISE research scholars have transferred to a university and 90 graduated with baccalaureate degrees in biomedical sciences, 17 with master’s degrees, 12 with doctoral degrees, 20 are in graduate school and four have College/University faculty positions.

Thousands have benefitted from the Supplemental Instruction Program.

EPCC is the largest community college located on the U.S.-Mexico border and will be the lead institution for this important collaborative.

UTEP Hockey Opens Home Season at Coliseum Events Center Friday

The reigning Texas Collegiate Hockey Conference champions are back on their home ice.

After a chilly start to the new season on the road, the UTEP Miners are looking to open their home season with victories this weekend as they take on the Northern Arizona Ice Jacks in a two-game series at the El Paso County Coliseum Events Center, 4100 East Paisano.

The Miners, under coach Tom Herman, are 2-3. They opened the season with losses to Texas A&M and Texas State, but pulled off two wins against Texas Tech this past weekend.

The UTEP Miners Hockey Club is a registered student organization that was formed in 2015.

The team competes in the Texas Collegiate Hockey Conference, which is part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The TCHC features two divisions and a final championship tournament that comes with an automatic berth into the ACHA Division 2 West Regional.

UTEP competes in the South Division with Texas, Texas A&M and Texas State, while the North Division features Texas Tech, North Texas, TCU and Dallas Baptist.

The games are set for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14. Tickets are $7 for all seats and are available at the El Paso County Coliseum Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000 and online.

Keep up with the Ice Miners via:

Twitter: @UTEPHockeyClub

Facebook: facebook.com/MinersClubHockey

Instagram: instagram.com/utephockeyclub

HP Sports In Depth: UTEP Welcomes Middle Tennessee In “Kick For Cure” Game Sunday

The UTEP soccer team (6-9, 2-4 Conference USA) will play host to Middle Tennessee (6-6, 3-2-0 C-USA) in its annual “Kick For The Cure” game at University Field at 6 p.m. MT Sunday. In an effort to raise awareness in the battle against breast cancer, all fans who wear pink will get in free.

“We are very excited for this week and our annual Pink Out game,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “This game is near and dear to my heart. We will be auctioning off team signed pink game jerseys, and donating the proceeds to the Stand with Estela charity. Middle Tennessee is coming to town as one of the hottest teams right now in Conference USA soccer and has an excellent attack. They are very well coached and will be a big test for us. We are excited to be hosting this game in front of our amazing UTEP Soccer fans that give us such a big boost! We hope our fans come out this Sunday at 6 pm as there are only two home games remaining.”

Special Auction To Fight Breast Cancer
UTEP will auction off team-signed pink game jerseys as part of a silent auction during the game Sunday, and the proceeds are going toward a tremendous cause. All proceeds will go toward the recently-established “Stand With Estela Fund”, which was created with the El Paso Community Foundation.

Longtime KVIA anchor Estela Casas has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she is asking for the community to stand with her and other women battling the disease. The fund will raise money toward breast cancer research and help El Paso-area woman who are fighting it.

Going Back In Time
UTEP battled hard but dropped a pair of road games against two teams that have both been receiving votes in the national rankings. The Miners were upended at North Texas, 3-1, on Oct. 6 while falling by a score of 2-0 at Rice on Oct. 8.

Series History Vs. Middle Tennessee
UTEP is 2-1 against Middle Tennessee since the Blue Raiders joined Conference USA. The two squads met most recently last year, which resulted in a 4-1 road victory for UTEP on Oct. 16, 2016.

Brief Rundown On The Blue Raiders
Middle Tennessee is 6-6 on the year, including 3-2 within Conference USA play. After starting the year at 0-4, it has won six of the next eight games to climb back to .500 Peyton DePriest is the player to watch, accounting for more than half (nine of 16) of the Blue Raiders’ goals on the year. Sam Debien (two) is the only other individual on the squad with multiple goals.

Amber Hoot tops the team in assists (four). Sydney Chalcraft has played every minute of every match in net, recording a total of 54 saves and a trio of shutouts.

Time To Get Back On Track
UTEP started the year at 0-5, with the first with the first four losses in either overtime or double overtime, but it proved it could handle adversity by winning five straight and six of the next seven games. The time has come for the Orange and Blue to once again dig deep as they’ve dropped three straight hard-fought games. The first opportunity comes Sunday against Middle Tennessee.

Bohdan Scores Again
Freshman Vic Bodhan put away her team-high tying fifth goal of the year in the 3-1 setback at North Texas on Oct. 6. Bohdan took possession of the ball in the box, spun and buried the shot past a diving keeper. She shares the team lead for goals with fellow classmate Anna Jimmerson.

Chaudhary’s Corner
Kennadie Chaudhary is one of three seniors on the squad for the Miners, and she’s making the most of her final go-around with the Orange and Blue. She has scored four goals, which sets a seasonal career high. The most important of those was the game-winning tally with just 59 seconds remaining in regulation at Southern Miss to lift UTEP to a 1-0 triumph in its Conference USA opener on Sept. 17. Making Chaudhary’s offensive exploits even more impressive is the fact her four goals have come on 11 shots on target.

Not Just A Defender
While sophomore Lauren Crenshaw has made her mark on defense in 2017, she’s also used her unique skillset to jump into the attack at the opportune time. A recent example of that came in the match-up against ODU on Oct. 1 when she played a perfect ball to senior Kennadie Chaudhary to set up the Miners’ first goal of the game. Crenshaw ranks second on the team in assists (three). She also has one goal on the year, which came against New Mexico Highlands on Sept. 13.

Three-Headed Attack
Freshman Anna Jimmerson (five) freshman Vic Bohdan (five) and senior Kennadie Chaudhary (four) have combined to score 14 of UTEP’s 22 goals on the season. Bohdan also paces the squad in assists (four), points (14), shots (35) and shots on goal (18).

Freshmen Firepower
Freshmen Anna Jimmerson (five) and Vic Bohdan (five) have proven to be the top scoring threats for the Miners in 2017. The last time UTEP had a freshman pace the team in goals scored was 2006 with Tameka Sumter (13). You have to go back to 2004 to find the last time the top-two spots were held by freshmen when Jami Tullius and Cara Nordin each recorded 10 goals.

Save The Day
Alyssa Palacios has compiled 97 saves (first C-USA/sixth nation) in 2017 (6.47 saves/match-first C-USA/18th nation), including matching her career high with 10 saves against both New Mexico on Aug. 27 and Old Dominion on Oct. 1. She started the year fourth place on the career Miner charts but with 340 saves has now climbed into second all-time. She has surpassed both Sarah Dilling (317; 2011-14) and Brittany Poppoff (270; 2004-07). The school record holder is Amanda Smith (438; 1996-99).

Up To The Task
Not only has Alyssa Palacios piled up the saves, she has done so at outstanding percentage. In 2017 Palacios is turning away 83.6 percent (fourth C-USA/56th nation) of shots faced, which has allowed her to continue to currently hold the top spot for that category in the Miners’ record books. For her career Palacios has recorded 340 saves while allowing only 63 goals for a percentage of 84.4 percent.

Start Her Up
Junior GK Alyssa Palacios has all 15 matches of the season, playing a total of 1388:06 minutes (second C-USA/10th nation). That has elevated her to 57 starts in as many matches since joining UTEP. The effort has vaulted her into third place on the UTEP career charts for starts by a GK.

Shutout City
With three shutouts this year, junior GK Alyssa Palacios has elevated her career total to 18 which pulls her into a tie for third place on the Miner all-time charts. The effort has also put her within striking distance of program-record holder Sarah Dilling (20;2011-14) and her next shutout will break the tie with Brittany Popoff (2004-07) while also moving her past Amanda Smith (18.5; 1996-99).

Third Time’s The Charm
For the third time of her career, Alyssa Palacios has garnered the C-USA Goalkeeper of the Week award. She was named it most recently on Sept. 18 after her dominant performance against Southern Miss (9/17/16) when she made six saves, including a one-vs.-one stop, on the way to notching her second shutout of the year. She was particularly strong in the first half, being called upon to deliver five saves.

Soto Shines Vs. Charlotte
Freshman Jackie Soto stepped up in a big way against Charlotte on Sept. 29, delivering her first career goal and game-winning goal in the 1-0 victory against the then C-USA league leaders. In the 20th minute she stole the ball and headed up the pitch. She then absolutely rocketed it into upper 90’s country past a helpless Charlotte GK.

UTEP Turned It Around
After dropping its first five matches, including four in overtime or double overtime, UTEP turned it around by winning five straight and six of the next seven games to climb all the way back to .500 on the year on two separate occasions. It marked the first time in program history that a team had been at least five games below .500 and managed to get all the way back to even.

All Good Things Must End
UTEP’s five-game winning streak came to a close with a hard-fought 1-0 loss vs. UAB on Sept. 22. The Miners outscored the opposition, 16-2, during the winning streak, which included three shutout victories.

Big Win
UTEP smoked DII program New Mexico Highlands, 8-0, on Sept. 13. It marked the largest shutout victory at the school since an 11-0 conquest of Grambling State in 2006. Additionally the eight goals tied as the eighth most in a single game in program history. Seven different Miners scored in the contest.

Working Overtime
For the first time in program history UTEP went to overtime in four straight contests to start the season. Overall the Miners have played overtime soccer five times so far in 2017. The five OT games already ties as the fifth most on the Miner single-season charts.

Freshmen Power In OT
Redshirt-freshman Cayla Payne hammered home a cross from true freshman Vic Bohdan to lift the Miners to a 2-1 overtime win at Idaho State on Sept. 3. It marked the first time in program history that UTEP had an OT winner where both the goal scorer and individual credited with an assist were both freshmen.

Close Calls
For the third time in program history (2008, 2015) the first four matches of the season were decided by one goal or less. The trend has continued since that point. Overall 10 of the 15 contests, including the first four Conference USA match-ups, were one-goal games.

Youth Served
Even though the Miners returned 13 letter winners, including six starters, they are notably young in 2017. Of the 27 student-athletes on the roster, 20 are either freshmen (12) or sophomores (eight). There are only three seniors and four juniors.

Cross Joins Club 200
In his 17th year as the Miners’ head coach Kevin Cross has joined an exclusive club in UTEP Athletics history. At 203-117-23 he is the fifth head coach in Miner sports history to reach 200 career wins at the school (reached it with 2-1 victory vs. Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 10, 2017).

Previously Don Haskins (men’s basketball, 719-354), Norm Brandl (volleyball, 355-337), Keitha Adams (women’s basketball, 284-209) and co-head coaches James and Kathleen Rodriguez (softball, 211-325) achieved the feat. Cross also has the fourth-most tenured run by a Miner head coach. He trails Haskins (37 years), Jere Pelletier (women’s golf, 22 years and counting) and Bob Kitchens (track & field, 22 years).

Trailing Only Haskins
Not only has Kevin Cross joined the 200+ win club at UTEP (did so with 2-1 win vs. Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 10, 2017), he has done so in style. His winning percentage stands at 62.5 percent (203-117-23). That figure trails only Hall of Fame Coach Don Haskins (men’s basketball) among the 200+ victory UTEP head coach club.

Haskins had a 67.0 winning percentage (719-354) in his 37 seasons roaming the sidelines.

The Basic Facts
UTEP is in its 22nd season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 245-163-30. The Miners are under the direction of 17th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 203-117-23 in that time frame. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit).

RPI Success
One of the best ways to measure a team’s worth across the board is the RPI, and that’s an area UTEP has thrived in. The Miners have produced a top-100 RPI in five of the eight past seasons and 10 times total under Kevin Cross, including a program-best 31 in 2005. Additionally, the Miners have secured a spot in the NSCAA Central Region top-10 poll in 11 of the past 13 seasons.

Matter Of Consistency
The Miners have averaged 12 wins while appearing in three conference title games and one NCAA tournament (2005, second round) under Kevin Cross. UTEP is one of 12 programs nationwide (325+ programs) to have hit 10+ wins in each year since 2002.

Joining the Miners are Boston College, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, North Texas, Notre Dame, Penn State, Stanford, Texas A&M, Virginia and West Virginia.

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