UTEP Volleyball Hosts Rival NM State in the 90th Battle of I-10 - Photo Courtesy of UTEP Athletics
UTEP faces off in a match against Rice in the Conference USA tournament on November 19, 2022 at E.A Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, KY

UTEP Volleyball Hosts Rival NM State in the 90th Battle of I-10

The UTEP Volleyball team (17-12, 10-4 Conference USA) will close out its regular season against I-10 rival New Mexico State (15-12, 7-7 Western Athletic Conference) Wednesday (Nov. 23) at 12 p.m. MT in Memorial Gym. 

Story Via UTEP Athletics

Tickets start at $8 and can be purchased through the Eisenberg Family Ticket Office by calling (915) 747-UTEP, emailing [email protected], visiting www.UTEPMiners.com/Tickets or in person at 201 Glory Road (Brumbelow Building, UTEP campus) Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Season tickets are also still on sale. Group tickets are also available for $5 (minimum of 10 tickets).


The match will be live streamed on CUSA.tv, with live stats available.


Hitting with Consistency 
Seven Miners are swinging better than .200 after 29 matches. Vittoria Price (.377, 101 kills) and Kaya Weaver (.337, 134 kills) lead the team among players with at least 100 kills.

Block Party  
The Miners registered a season-high 17 blocks against North Texas on Oct. 2. UTEP posted at least 10 blocks in 13 matches this season. Alianza Darley (124) and Kaya Weaver (93) each tallied at least 90 blocks to lead the charge.


Balanced Attack 
Over 29 matches, three Miners are blasting home at least 2.0 kills pet set. Torrance Lovesee (284, 2.73/set) leads the way with Serena Patterson (275, 2.37/set) and Sara Pustahija (248, 2.25/set) getting after it as well.


Miner Rankings 
In Conference USA, UTEP is ranked in the top three in seven different categories:

1. Team Service Aces (229, 6th NCAA)

1. Aces per Set (1.97, 6th NCAA)

1. Team Total Blocks (279.5, 31st NCAA)

2. Opp Hitting Percentage (0.174, 40th NCAA)

2. Blocks per Set (2.41, 58th NCAA)

3. Team Assists (1335, 83rd NCAA)

3. Match W-L Pctg (0.586, 119th NCAA)

UTEP has five players ranked in the top ten in five different categories in the conference:

Statistic         Player         C-USA Rank         Value     
Aces per Set Sara Pustahija 4 0.47
Blocks per Set Kaya Weaver

Alianza Darley





Service Aces Sara Pustahija

Hula Crisostomo

Mattie Gantt







Total Blocks Alianza Darley 2 124
Total Digs Hula Crisostomo 6 425


Scouting NM State 

The Aggies’ postseason hopes ended in south Texas on Thursday morning as they fell in three sets to third-seeded Grand Canyon in the first round of the WAC Championship Tournament. Following the tournament, Rylee Fay still ranks among the best in the WAC in a pair of categories as she paces the league in service aces per set (0.52) while ranking ninth in assists per set (6.48) entering the tournament. Meanwhile, Mosher also concluded the regular season with the highest hitting percentage in the WAC for the second-straight season – hitting a .361 clip. She now ranks second with a .357 hitting percentage. Katie Birtcil was also one of the most effective in the league this season as she ranks eighth in kills per set at 3.16 across 94 sets on the season and also ranks eighth in points per set (3.50). Leading the Aggies’ defense, Darian Markham tallied the fourth-most digs per set among league liberos at 4.39. As a team, the Aggies are holding opponents to a .186 combined hitting percentage – a mark that is good for third-best in the conference. Also, the Aggies rank third in the league in assists (12.12) and fourth in kills (13.06) as a team.

The Series vs. NM State
The Aggies are 64-25 against UTEP and have won eight of the last 10. Despite the dominant success the Aggies have exemplified across time, UTEP has gotten the best of the Aggies in the most recent two meetings – defeating the Aggies in five sets in both 2021 tilts. Prior to falling in a pair of tightly contested matches in 2021, the Aggies had defeated the Miners nine straight times, including six of which ended after just three sets.

Coach Wallis on the Competition
“We are excited for this rivalry game against a good team. I mean, they haven’t had the season that NMSU would want, they’re generally a 20-win team, but when you look at their RPI, they’re still a good RPI team and that means they can beat you. And they have a lot of length. They’ve got a ton of big, huge human beings that can stop you if you’re going to be stubborn and try to hit it through them. They have a couple of players who can beat you on their own; they’ve got weapons. They haven’t had the year that they wanted so they’re probably pretty hungry to try to end the season on a high note beating a rival in UTEP and so it’s going to be a tough match for us. It’s also going to be a tough match because it’s a hard time of the year where our conference season is over and we’re still kind of trying to answer questions about the postseason. And so, it’s a big deal to a lot of people. It’s a big deal for our players and their players and staff, and Mike Jordan might be one of my best buddies in the whole world. It’s important that he and I obviously compete hard against each other, and we always end up having sit down and a conversation after a match and commiserate a little bit. So, it means a lot. There’s a lot on it for El Paso and Las Cruces. So, we’re looking forward to playing this match, but it’s going to be a tough grind. I mean, last year we escaped two victories in five, and I would imagine it’s going to be a tough grinder match just like that. The first time we played them, when I took the job in 2019, we lost in five. So, we’ve played three times since I’ve been here and we’ve played 15 sets of volleyball, so I would not expect anything less than that when it comes to this rivalry against a very good opponent.”

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