The UTEP volleyball team (16-5, 5-3 Conference USA) defeated UAB (9-11, 4-4 C-USA) via sweep, 3-0 (25-18, 27-25, 25-23) Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gym.
The Miners had three players hit double-digit kills, Ema Uskokovic (15), Alianza Darley (13) and Serena Patterson (11). Kristen Fritsche led the squad with 22 assists while Hande Yetis followed with 21 assists. On the defensive side, Alyssa Sianez tallied 14 digs. Uskokovic (.545), Darley (.440) and Kenidy Howard (.333) led the team in hitting percentages among players with at least five kills.
UTEP recorded eight blocks and four service aces while hitting .361.
“I’m really proud of my group,” head coach Ben Wallis said. “I reminded them who they play for and what they play for. They play for themselves and they play for the city. UAB is a really good serving team and they pressured us. We never relented and we almost broke a couple times, but we didn’t.
“I’m really proud of our serving subs, Savannah (Trahan) and Ava (Palm) because they went out and served bullets,” Wallis said. “All in all, it was a massive team effort because that’s a tough team to sweep.”
UTEP set the pace in the first set, taking off with multiple scoring runs. The Blazers attempted to rally but were no match for the 4-1 run the Miners pulled off to win the set, 25-18. UTEP hit an outstanding .379.
UAB rallied to take the lead in the second set and kept a steady five-point advantage over the Miners for half the set. UTEP snuck up on the Blazers with a 7-0 scoring run to take back the set. After the set went into three set points, back-to-back kills by Uskokovic landed the Miners with the set win and a 2-0 advantage in the match, 27-25. UTEP hit .326.
The final set consisted of 16 tied scores and five lead changes. Each team produced numerous scoring runs to take the lead. Tied at 23-23, the Miners shut down the Blazers with back-to-back kills by Darley and Perez Rosas to win the match, 25-23. UTEP hit an outstanding .389.
UTEP will be back in action as it travels to San Antonio, Texas, to face off against UTSA Oct. 29-30. The matches will have live stats available.