Andres Acosta / El Paso Herald-Post
The UTEP volleyball team (13-14, 6-8) will travel to Houston, Texas, as the seventh seed in the Conference USA Tournament, and will take on Rice (24-2, 13-1) in the first round on Friday, November 22 at 4 p.m. MT.
The Orange and Blue cemented their spot in the conference tournament as the seventh seed, which is the highest finish since 2012. This is also the first conference tournament appearance for the Miners since 2016. UTEP will take on the second seeded Rice in the first round of the tourney.
This will be the third matchup between the two squads this season. If the Miners are victorious on Friday then they will play the winner of the North Texas and UTSA matchup on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT.
UTEP Volleyball has seen six different coaches since Norm Brandl took over the program in 1976. Every coach since then has posted a worse record then the year prior. However, Ben Wallis is excluded from that company. He has improved on last season’s win total by eight, and has the greatest turnaround by a first-year coach in program history.
UTEP has had a turnaround for the books. Last year the Miners won five matches and ranked 259 in the RPI. This season, the Orange and Blue have 13 wins and have improved their RPI to 144.
Serena Patterson was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week after her performance against Marshall (10/25). She is the first offensive player of the week for the Miners since 2013 (Xitalili Herrera – 10/21/13). Patterson had 16 kills and recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 13 digs.
Cheyenne Jones was on an absolute tear during a six-match streak in conference. The junior was hitting .418 with 75 kills, and the Miners were 5-1 in that stretch. The outside hitter put on a career performance against Southern Miss with 25 kills and five blocks with a scorching-hot .465 hitting percentage.
The Orange and Blue won five matches all of last season. They have already more than doubled that mark with 13 victories. UTEP has also surpassed the Conference win total from 2018 (two) with six. During 2018 the Miners were victorious in only one match in Memorial Gym, and in 2019 they had six.
Redshirt freshman Kenidy Howard is leading the Miners during league play with 42 blocks, and is sixth in the league with 1.02 blocks per set.
For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics at UTEPMiners.com.