Andres Acosta / El Paso Herald-Post
The UTEP volleyball team (13-12, 6-6) will travel to Charlotte (15-14, 4-8) on Thursday at 4 p.m. MT, and will host No. 21 Rice (22-2, 11-1) for “Senior Day” on Saturday at 12 p.m. MT.
As Saturday is “Senior Day” for the Miners, the team will recognize Briana Arellano, Erika Sianez, Priscilla Sanchez, Niki Cebak and Macey Austin for their contributions to UTEP Volleyball.
The 49ers are looking to make a final push at the conference tournament this weekend. If they are to run the table, winning their final two matches, then they have a shot at making it to Houston. Yumi Garcia is Charlotte’s star libero. The senior has 686 digs and a staggering 6.66 digs per set.
Rice is coming off of a ranked matchup with WKU, where it fell in an epic five set war. In the latest polls, the Owls are ranked No. 21 nationally. Nicole Lennon will lead the team into El Paso, Texas, being the front-runner for conference player of the year. She has 390 kills and has won Conference USA Player of the Week on seven different occasions.
The top eight teams in Conference USA make the post-season tournament, and the Miners currently sit at seventh with a 6-6 league record. The Orange and Blue can punch their ticket to the C-USA tourney with a victory at Charlotte on Thursday. UTEP’s seeding could vary from the sixth spot to the eighth, which is dependent on what occurs in the final weekend of play.
The Miners appear to be getting hot at the right time. They are on a three-match winning streak, and are 6-2 in their last eight conference games.
The Orange and Blue, with one more victory, will clinch the most conference wins since 2014 (seven), and their first winning season since 2012.
Cheyenne Jones has been on an absolute tear during her last six conference matches. The junior is hitting .418 with 75 kills, and the Miners are 5-1 in this 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 have six.
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.