Photo: UTEP

UTEP Volleyball set for Bradley Invitational; Final tune up before ConferenceUSA play

The UTEP volleyball team will hit the road to Peoria, Ill., for the Bradley Invitational. The Miners are set to take on Southeast Missouri State (9 a.m. MT) and DePaul  (3 p.m. MT) on Friday and the tournament host Bradley on Saturday (10 a.m. MT) at the Renaissance Coliseum.

This will be the final tournament before conference play begins.

UTEP currently holds a 4-7 overall record as it has defeated Abilene Christian 3-1 (8/29), South Alabama 3-2 (9/5), Brown 3-1 (9/11) and Robert Morris 3-1 (9/11).

Junior Lindsey Larson recorded three more double-doubles at home last weekend as UTEP co-hosted the Borderland Invitational with NM State. She has now tallied eight double-doubles in 2015.

Coline Coessens and Dalainee Perry added one more, setting them at four and two respectively this season.

Live Stats: All Matches / Live Streaming: UTEP vs. Bradley ESPN3


Series: This will be the second match between Southeast Missouri and UTEP. In the first match in 2000, the Miners were victorious. Southeast Missouri is 3-7 during the 2015 campaign, and has won a total of 11 sets overall this year. The Miners will take on the Redhawks Friday at 9:00 a.m. MT.


Krissa Gearring (108 kills/ .132 hitting percentage), Katarina Rotta (313 assists/ 9.21 per set), and Jade Mortimer (152 digs/ 4.34 per set) are Southeast Missouri’s leaders in each category. Nzingha Clarke has the highest hitting percentage at a .329 clip.


Series: UTEP will take on DePaul University Friday at 3:00 p.m. MT, and it will be the second meeting between the Miners and the Blue Demons. DePaul was victorious in the first meeting in 1989. Overall, the Blue Demons are 8-1 during the 2015 campaign.


Caitlyn Coffey (106 kills/ .524 hitting percentage) Colleen Smith (344 assists/ 11.10 per set), and Tyler Graham (110 digs/ 3.44 per set) are the leaders for DePaul in each category. Caitlyn Coffey also paces the Blue Demons in blocks with 28 overall, averaging 0.88 blocks per set.


Series: The Miners will be meeting the Braves for the second time this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. MT. UTEP last played Bradley in 2009 where the Miners were victorious.  Bradley currently holds a 5-4 record for the 2015 campaign, and has won a total of 16 sets so far this year.


The Braves have a wide range of attackers, all of whom have more than 60 kills overall such as Jamie Livaudais (61 kills/ .140 hitting percentage), Taylor Thiele (62 kills/ .161 hitting percentage), Allison Turner (67 kills/ .171 hitting percentage), and Erica Haslag (72 kills/ .191 hitting percentage). Jessica Teel leads Bradley in assists with a total of 156 (4.59 per set), while Lea Sack (169 digs/ 4.97 digs per set) tops the Braves in defensive strategies.


Junior setter Lindsey Larson has been the trendsetter for the Miners this year. In eight of the 11 matches, she has recorded a double-double. In 2013, Xitali Herrera led the squad’s defense and offense with 13 double-doubles, where she was named to the AVCA Division I All-American team. Based on Larson’s performance so far this year, she shows that she is on the pace to meet or surpass the amount of double-doubles registered by Herrera. Larson was named to the Bruin Invitational All-Tournament team as well as the TCU Tournament All-Tournament team. The Miners co-hosted the Borderland Invitational last weekend where Larson tallied a career-best 62 assists accompanied by 27 digs to help the Miners beat Brown University (9/11).


A member of the 2014 Conference USA All-Freshman Team, Coline Coessens has been doing it all for the Orange

and Blue in 2015. The sophomore leads the team with 135 kills, ranks second in assists (20), third in

digs (127) and fourth in blocks (25). Coessens has registered four double-doubles in 2015.


The Miners have been pretty efficient on limiting errors in 2015. UTEP has been charged with only 241 errors, while opposing teams have committed 269 infractions on the offensive end. The same goes for serves; the Orange and Blue are serving at a .939 clip with only 58 errors. The opponents serving percentage has only been .907 and they have committed 94 errors.


UTEP returned four starters and eight letter winners while adding six freshmen and a transfer. With a squad of 15,

the Miners have six outside hitters, four defensive specialist, three middle blockers and two setters. Talia Jones,

Lindsey Larson, Coline Coessens and Ashley Peak are the returning starters for the 2015 campaign. Since her arrival

at UTEP, Jones has seen action in 226 sets while making 67 career starts. The setter, Larson, has participated in 234

sets and started in 64 matches since 2013. Peak, a defensive specialist, has accumulated 61 starting appearances while participating in 221 sets. Coessens has played in 129 sets and earned a spot in the starting lineup for 34 matches.


UTEP volleyball has featured 13 student-athletes from Texas on its roster in the past six years. It’s a testament to the

youth, club and high school volleyball in the state. Currently the Miners have two Texas natives in the form of Idalis

Rodriguez and Sarah Villa. Both Rodriguez and Villa are hometown talents from the Sun City.


UTEP will play the 2015 season with four student-athletes on the roster who were raised and trained outside of

the United States. Canada is the most represented country with three players (Lindsey Larson, Niki Cebak, Ashley

Grzenbeniak) and Belgium follows with one. The success of outside hitter Coline Coessens (Belgium) and setter

Lindsey Larson has shown that seeking international talent could be a promising decision in terms of recruitment.


UTEP’s presence at the net has been felt the first three weeks of the season. The Miners rattled off 27.5 total blocks at the TCU Tournament, 35 at the Bruin Invitational, and 33 when co-hosting the Borderland Invitational. The 95.5 total blocks equate to a 2.33 blocks per set average, which is the third best in Conference USA. This is the highest average it has achieved since 2012 when UTEP averaged 2.36 blocks per set. Team leaders Xitlali Herrera and Jean Horton became AVCA Division I All-American Team honorable mentions that season.


The Miners have had two matches where they recorded 100 or more digs during the 2015 season. At the Belmont Bruin Invitational, UTEP notched 104 digs in the five-set victory against South Alabama (9/5). The squad was led by senior defensive specialist Ashley Peak who tallied 31 digs while four more Miners (Coline Coessens, Naomi Whitehair, Lindsey Larson, Dalainee Perry) registered 10 or more digs. When co-hosting the Borderland Invitational, UTEP registered 123 digs. Peak led the pack once again with 35 while Larson added 27.  With an average of 4.19 digs per set, Peak currently ranks ninth in conference in digs (176) and 62nd nationally.


The Miners lead the nation with 18.95 digs per set. If the Miners continue this trend it would be the most since 1991 (19.33). This is the most digs UTEP has averaged since head coach Holly Watts was hired. Under Watts’ helm, in 2013 UTEP averaged 14.6, and in 2014 it averaged 15.2.