Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics
The UTEP volleyball team dropped its first two home matches of the season Saturday in Memorial Gym.
The Miners fell to No. 16 Texas A&M, 0-3 (16-24, 24-26, 15-25), in the first match of the day and lost to Sacramento State, 0-3 (22-25, 13-25, 16-25) in the evening.
Against the Aggies, Lindsey Larson led the team with eight kills while contributing 10 assists, four blocks, three digs and service ace. Amanda King topped the Miners with 15 assists and added two digs while Sarah Villa totaled a team-best 18 digs.
Macey Austin and Ashley Grzebeniak were also contributors to the offense with six kills each and Kylie Baumgartner aided the defense with four blocks.
The Orange and Blue scored the first point with a powerful block by Baumgartner and Austin, which set the tone for the first half of the opening stanza. The teams went point-for-point until Texas A&M went off on a 15-3 run to claim the frame, 25-16. The second period saw 13 tie scores and six lead changes but the Aggies claimed a 2-0 match lead with a 26-24 victory before the intermission. After regrouping, UTEP was unable to keep up with A&M’s momentum and dropped the third set, 15-25.
Austin, Larson and Baumgartner notched six kills a-piece in the evening match against Sacramento State while Briana Arellano recorded five kills. Larson added another double-double to her list with 10 assists and 11 digs and Amanda King had a total of 10 assists and five digs.
The defense, however, was paced by Villa with 24 digs, which puts her fourth in the UTEP record book for most digs in a three-set match. Arellano was a force on the offense and defense, adding 10 digs and five kills.
The first stanza saw eight tie scores and three lead changes. The score was knotted at 22’s before the Hornets scored three-consecutive points to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Miners were leading, 8-7, early in the second frame but Sacramento State became unstoppable, allowing the Miners to score only five more points in the set. The Hornets carried the rhythm into the third period to take a quick 25-16 win in the stanza and a 3-0 match win over the Miners.
UTEP will be on the road next weekend as it prepares for the UT-Arlington Invitational. The Orange and Blue will open the tournament against Samford on Friday, Sept. 16 at 3 p.m. (MT) and will face another double-header the following day, beginning with New Mexico at 1 p.m. (MT) and will close out the weekend’s action against the tournament host, UT-Arlington at 6 p.m. (MT).