• January 23, 2022
 UTEP Volleyball Signs a Pair, Adds Walk-On to 2022 Roster

EL PASO, Texas – UTEP volleyball head coach Ben Wallis brings on three new additions to the 2022-23 roster, setter Mattie Gantt, and outside hitters Marian Ovalle and Katherine Neille.

UTEP Volleyball Signs a Pair, Adds Walk-On to 2022 Roster

UTEP volleyball head coach Ben Wallis brings on three new additions to the 2022-23 roster, setter Mattie Gantt, and outside hitters Marian Ovalle and Katherine Neille. 

Mattie Gantt 

The 5-11 Aledo, Texas native reached 3,000+ career assists while producing 187 kills with a hitting percentage of .346 in 124 sets her senior season. Gantt also recorded 66 service aces and 45 total blocks into the 2021-22 season.

“We’re very excited about the addition of Mattie Gantt to our team,” Wallis said. “She comes from a great club system and has a lot of experience playing at a high level in both high school and club.”

Gantt’s accolades include: AVCA All-American, AVCA All-Region Team, Academic All-District, Gosset’s Newcomer of the Year (2019), six-time Aledo Player of the Match,

“She’s got a swagger to her that all good setters need in order to be great at the collegiate level. She’s a very good athlete that do multiple skill things in the setting position.

In the classroom, Gantt has been awarded the AVCA “Best and Brightest” Award, to achieve this she kept a 3.5 weighted GPA or higher during her junior year and had to play in more than 50% of varsity games during her senior year.

“She’s going to compete right away with our current setters for time running this offense and we’re fired up about the future of the program with this addition.

Highlights

Marian Ovalle 

The 5-8 Juarez, Chihuahua native tallied 452 kills with a hitting percentage of .322 in her final season – eighth in the country amongst all junior college players – at New Mexico Military Institute in 2021-22. She achieved a career-high of 29 kills in a five-set victory over Iowa Western Community College (Oct. 16)

“We originally recruited Marian as a freshman to be on the roster in 2020,” Wallis said, “but because of COVID and all the complexities with international players getting their eligibility affected, we weren’t able to get her here so we hooked her up with Shelby Forchtner at NMMI and she blossomed there under her care for two seasons.”

Ovalle’s accolades include: named NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week honors (Oct. 20), three-time WJCAC Player of the Week, and named AVCA Two-Year College Player of the Week (Oct. 20).

“She’s a lefty sniper (scorer),” Wallis said, “and will add something that we haven’t had in my time here at UTEP which is an opposite who can stay on the floor and bomb out of the backrow too.”

Ovalle ranks fourth in the country amongst all junior college scorers with 4.6 points/set and ranks eighth in total points (544). She finished her Bronco career with 625 kills, 131 total blocks and 548 digs.

“She’s got a ton of international experience playing for Mexico’s national teams and she fearless,” Wallis said. “She will be a great addition to our roster and cares a lot about volleyball, competing, and winning. She’s also from Chihuahua so it’s nice to bring a local product to El Paso as we know there’s good volleyball just across the border.”

Katherine Neille 

Katherine Neille will join Gantt and Ovalle as a walk-on for the 2022-23 class. The 5-10 Pflugerville, Texas native achieved the 1000-kill milestone during her high school varsity career. The four-year letterman winner tallied a season-high 362 kills and posted 237 points for the squad her senior season.

“Kat is going to be another great athletic addition to this roster,” Wallis said, “and is another Texas (Austin) product that has a significant amount of high-level experience playing good volleyball in high school and club.

Neille’s accolades include: Four-time UIL All-Academic, UIL Outstanding Hitter (MVP), AVCA All-Region Team, 2019 Lone Start High Performance Team (silver winner), AVCA Phenom Watch List, and USAV A1 High-Performance Training Team selection.

“She plays in a top Texas club, Austin Juniors, and she’s coming to us with some good skill already,” Wallis said. “She’s a good athlete that can play on both pins and will get better and better with time and training at the ball handling stuff. Her personality is infections and as soon as she started researching about UTEP she fell in love with our team, program, and when she arrived on her visit with the city as well.”

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