Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics
RUSTON, La. – The UTEP volleyball team (4-16, 1-7) defeated LA Tech (6-17, 1-7) in four sets (16-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23), 3-1, on Friday night in Ruston, La.
The Miners were led by Macey Austin, who registered a double-double (16 kills & 19 digs). Cheyenne Jones was right behind her with 11 kills of her own and two total blocks. Martine Kragholm led the way at the net with five total blocks and nine kills. Kristen Fritsche recorded 35 assists, as well as seven digs.
UTEP would come out of the gate in the first set with a quick two kills from Serena Patterson and Mallory Yost, 2-0. As action progressed the score was knotted up at 10 points each and then the Lady Techsters went on a 4-0 run to force a Miner timeout. LA Tech would not let up, building on that run and creating a 20-12 advantage that helped give it a comfortable lead.
UTEP would be unable to recover, dropping the set, 25-16.
The Miners were lifted early in the second set by back-to-back blocks from Jones and Kragholm that helped build a 9-4 lead. Powerful kills from Jones and Austin would keep the Lady Techsters at bay, and allow the Miners to take a 21-18 lead in the final stages of the set. With the Lady Techsters forging a comeback facing set point, 24-23, Hayley Meshay recorded an incredible solo block to even up the set count, 1-1.
There were six ties to begin the pivotal third set. The Miners would be the ones to separate themselves when they took a 20-16 lead, forcing a LA Tech timeout. This breathing room was all UTEP needed, as it claimed the set, 25-22, after a Kragholm hammer into the LA Tech defense.
The Lady Techsters began the fourth set with purpose as they jumped out to a 6-2 lead, forcing a Miner timeout. UTEP would recover after the timeout and tie the set back up at 10-10. After that point there would be 11 ties, the last of which being, 23-23. Austin and Jones would collect the deciding next two kills that sealed the first conference victory of the season for UTEP.
- Austin’s 19 digs establish a career high
- This is the first victory for UTEP since Sept. 15 (San Diego State)
- First C-USA road victory since Oct. 30, 2016, (at Middle Tennessee)
“Tonight was a team win. We did a great job of supporting and playing for each other. Lots of defense with 84 digs including double-digits by Macey (Austin), Briana (Bustillos) and Serena (Patterson).”
The Miners will travel to Middle Tennessee (5-15, 0-7) to play on Sunday at 11 a.m. MT.