FILE: Serena Patterson | Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics

UTEP forces five sets in first scrimmage loss

The UTEP Volleyball team (0-0) fell to Texas State (3-0) in five sets (25-15, 22-25, 12-25, 25-23, 10-15) 3-2, in its first scrimmage on Friday night.  

“It was two good teams making it really hard on (left sides) to score. … We’re both long, we’re both athletic and we both have good defenders. I thought both of our setters (Kristen Fritsche and Sophia Chacon) did a good job of trying to execute a game plan, and unfortunately, we just didn’t hit it in the right places enough,” Head coach Ben Wallis shared.

“We were able to get slowed down one-on-one – which is a setter’s job – and we didn’t execute and hit the ball in the right place enough. But that will come with more video work and seeing why it was (that) you weren’t able to hit it there.”

Junior transfer Ha’ahula Crisostomo was solid in her debut at the libero spot for the Miners, leading all players with 20 digs and making several game-saving dives to boot.

“There’s not a Division-I program in the country that wouldn’t want Crisostomo on their team right now,” said former U.S. Women’s Olympic National Team Coach Mick Haley.

Sophomore outside hitter Alianza Darley tied her career-high in kills (12) and logged a double-digit kill performance after recording just three last season. Junior Serena Patterson smashed 10 kills of her own in addition to 10 digs on her double-double night.

Irbe Lazda continued her attack efficiency from 2019 after sitting out the majority of conference play due to injury. The redshirt freshman middle blocker registered a .474 hit percentage and nine kills against the Bobcats.

Following a hot UTEP start with a .348 hitting percentage in the first set (25-15), the Texas State came roaring back and took sets two and three.

The Miners then forced the Bobcats – the reigning Sun Belt Conference champions and 2019 NCAA Tournament team – to five sets behind the defensive efforts of Darley and junior middle blocker Carissa McGarity who logged five and three block assists, respectively.

Wallis added, “Alyssa Siañez played very well and was very composed as a freshman. And (Ha’ahula) Crisostomo was really, really good. She was making some really nice plays for us and she looked comfortable and did a really nice job.”

Next up, the Miners will face Texas State once more Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. MT to cap their scrimmage road trip.