UTEP’s Patterson_Yetis | Photo by Scott Larson – Portland State
The UTEP volleyball team (8-1) will travel to Corpus Christi, Texas, to take on Texas State (2-8), host Texas A&M – Corpus Christi (3-5), and Tarleton State (4-5) this weekend in the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Tournament.
The Miners will start with a doubleheader on Friday (Sept. 17) against Texas State at 9:30 a.m. MT and Texas A&M – Corpus Christi at 5 p.m. MT. UTEP will close out the tournament with a match against Tarleton State Saturday (Sept. 18) at 9:30 a.m. MT.
UTEP has equaled its best record (8-1) through nine matches in program history. UTEP was previously 8-1 in 1988 and 2011.
“Through the past three weekends you learn a lot about your team but you also have injuries and bumps and bruises,” head coach Ben Wallis said. “Perseverance is a big key to this weekend and my team was pretty resilient last week overcoming those challenges.
“We’re hoping that when we get healthy and back to our regular line up,” Wallis said. “Potentially, this weekend we’re going to get ourselves moving in the right direction for conference play.” Wallis said.
UTEP’s Ema Uskokovic repeated as C-USA Freshman of the Week after she had an outstanding weekend at the Portland State Tournament with 34 kills (3.09 kills/set), 21 digs (1.91 digs/set) and three blocks overall in 11 sets played. This is the first time in school history that UTEP has had three straight weekly conference award winners.
Leading the Team
Serena Patterson leads the team in kills, tallying a total of 102 kills (2.91 kills/set) and 79 digs (2.26 digs/set) within nine matches (35 sets). Yasso Amin ranks second on the squad with 83 kills (2.37 kills/set).
Uskokovic comes in third, recording 79 kills (2.26 kills/set). Kristen Fritsche and Ryley Frye are the top two producers in service aces, both totaling 16 aces.
Just following behind them, Patterson has registered 11 aces. Both Fritsche and Frye find themselves in the top two for assists. Fritsche leads the team with 210 assists (6.00 assists/set) and Frye checks in with 93 assists (3.72 assists/set).
The starting libero, Alyssa Sianez, paces the squad with 139 digs (3.97 digs/set). She is fourth in assists (28).
Scouting Texas State
The Bobcats are the reigning Sun Belt Conference champions (31-9, 15-1 Sun Belt). Texas State is 2-8 on the year, and has lost back-to-back matches. It beat SEC foe Alabama and has losses to Power Five programs Miami and Texas A&M. The program is led offensively by Jada Gardner (80 kills, 2.35 kills/set), Ryann Torres (154 assists, 6.16 assists/set) and Emily DeWalt (133 assists, 8.31 assists/set). On the defense, Kayla Granado tops the team with 135 digs (3.86 digs/set).
The Series vs. Texas State
UTEP is 2-1 against Texas State, with its most recent win (3-0) last year. The program is currently 1-1 under head coach Ben Wallis.
Scouting Texas A&M – Corpus Christi
The Islanders are the reigning Southland Conference champions (14-5, 9-3 Southland). Texas A&M – Corpus Christi is 3-5 on the year, and is riding a two-match win streak. The program is led offensively by Kyndal Payne (75 kills, 2.78 kills/set) and Faith Panhans (214 assists, 8.23 assists/set). Carissa Barnes set the tone for the team defensively with 121 digs (6.72 digs/set). She is also the top scorer in service aces (12).
The Series vs. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi
The Miners lead the all-time series with Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, 3-0, including most recently 3-2 victory in 2019. This will be the second match-up under head coach Ben Wallis.
Scouting Tarleton State
The TexAnns are 4-5 on the year. Amber Strange and Lauren Kersey have both reached 1,000 career kills and both recently secured a spot on the Tarleton’s all-time kill list. They are the second set of teammates in program history to play together with over 1,000 kills. The program is led by Kersey (107 kills, 3.24 kills/set) and Kayla Brannon (236 assists, 7.15 assists/set). Brannon is now among Tarleton’s top-five all-time assist leaders recording a career high of 2395 assists. On the defense, Ana Costas leads the way with 123 digs (4.39 digs/set).
The Series vs. Tarleton State
UTEP is 1-0 against Tarleton State, with the lone meeting coming back in 1985.