HOUSTON – The UTEP volleyball team (3-10, 0-1) lost in three sets against Rice (10-4, 1-0) in the first match of conference play in Houston on Friday evening.
Early in the first set the Miners leaned on Briana Bustillos who contributed a service ace and Cheyenne Jones who locked in a kill off an assist from Kristen Fritsche to keep the Owl lead within striking distance at 5-3.
Rice would take control with an 11-3 run that allowed it a comfortable path to victory in the first set, 25-14. Macey Austin, Martine Kragholm and Jones all produced three kills each in the set, with Fritsche distributing the ball notching 11 assists.
It was a historic first couple of points for UTEP in the second set. Senior Kylie Baumgartner added two blocks to her career total (323), which now places her seventh all-time in total blocks in program history.
The Miners were at a two point disadvantage, 8-6, in the early stages of the set. The Owls 4-0 run created separation between the teams, and despite a 3-0 push by the Orange and Blue, Rice took the set, 25-18.
The Miners were within one point, 7-6, when Rice pulled together an 8-0 run capping off an efficient .517 hitting percentage performance for the night. UTEP failed to recover and the Owls took the set, 25-14, and the match in a sweep.
UTEP will host its first match of conference play at Memorial Gym versus Southern Miss (6-7) on Sunday (12 p.m. MT). Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids. For more information about the team day program call the UTEP marketing department at (915) 747-6065.
Kylie Baumgartner notched two block assists for the match moving her career block assist total to 284. She is now five away from becoming sixth all-time in program history