CORPUS CHRISTI – Behind Serena Patterson’s career-high 23 kills, the UTEP volleyball team (10-2) closed out the Islanders Classic with a win over Tarleton State (4-7), 3-1 (25-16, 25-18, 28-30, 27-25) Saturday.
Patterson and Paulina Perez Rosas were named to the All-Tournament Team.
“Special players make special plays and have special moments and that’s what Serena Patterson did today with an outstanding nine kills in the fourth set,” UTEP head coach Ben Wallis said.
The Miners had two players reach double-digit in kills: Patterson (23) and Perez Rosas (12). Kristen Fritsche directed the offense by compiling 30+ assists for the second time this season. Hande Yetis recorded 17 assists and also achieved four services aces while teammates Ava Palm and Patterson had two service aces each. Alyssa Sianez tallied 21 digs for the defense.
UTEP totaled seven blocks and nine services aces. The Miners hit .265.
“Tarleton was a tough team to play because they play so hard,” Wallis said. “We expected to roll over this team in the third set, and they didn’t quit. They just kept playing hard and kept coming at us. We found some rhythm and confidence again when it came to the progress and flow of our team operating in our system.
“What I’m really proud of is that we slowed down and stopped Tarleton’s top player,” Wallis said. “Serena (Patterson) took the challenge very personally and was excited to go up against her.”
UTEP hit multiple scoring runs in the first set with only four tied scores. With no lead changes, the Miners sustained the advantage and took off by winning the set, 25-16.
The Miners started off the second set with a 5-0 scoring run. The Texans peaked early on with one lead change but fell short after the Miners went on a second 5-0 scoring run to take the set, 25-18.
Coming off a hot start, UTEP kept the third set tight with 15 ties. After fighting off seven set points the Miners fell to the Texans, 30-28.
Similar to the previous set, the Miners fought hard against the Texans for most of the fourth set. With the help from Patterson’s nine-kill set, UTEP closed out the set on a 10-3 scoring run to win the match, 27-25.
“We walked out of the gym 2-1 and we’re getting back to El Paso at 10-2.” Wallis said.
“Now we will revisit some things and rest up before we face UTRGV to wrap up preseason. Then we will get prepared for the start of conference play.”