Photo courtesy UTEP
NORFOLK, Virginia – The UTEP volleyball team (21-7, 9-4 Conference USA) concluded its 2021 season Saturday afternoon following its valiant effort in a loss to No. 18 Western Kentucky (26-1, 12-0 C-USA), 3-0 (18-25, 17-25, 23-25), in the Conference USA Tournament Semifinals in Norfolk, Virginia.
“I’m very proud of what my team put out there this year,” head coach Ben Wallis said. “I was disappointed we weren’t able to scrap out that third set. We didn’t do enough, efficiency wise. They (WKU) were way better at transition and were very clean. We did, however, construct a better fall 2021 team to be able to compete with them. Luckily for me, I get to continue to coach this team for a couple more weeks which I’m excited about.”
On the offense, Alianza Darley led the Miners with 11 kills and Kristen Fritsche with 16 assists. Paulina Perez Rosas notched seven digs for the defense.
UTEP recorded three services aces and five blocks while hitting .231.
SET ONE, No. 18 WKU 25-UTEP 18
No. 18 WKU pulled out multiple scoring runs to pull ahead in the set. After five tied scores the Hilltoppers pulled out a 4-0 scoring run to win the set.
SET TWO, No. 18 WKU 25-UTEP 17
With eight tied scores and four lead changes, No. 18 WKU ran with the last lead to take a 2-0 advantage in the match.
SET THREE, No. 18 WKU 25-UTEP 23
The Miners kept the lead for majority of the final set. A 3-0 scoring run by the Hilltoppers put them back in front to complete a sweep over UTEP.
“To be able to show that we are in the conversation as one of the top-four teams in the conference makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing,” Wallis said. “This program is moving in the right direction and I’m so proud of them.”