UTEP Volleyball Splits Final Day of California Road Trip

RIVERSIDE, Ca. – The UTEP volleyball team (3-9) split the final day of its Golden State road trip with a thrilling five-set victory over San Diego State (1-10) and a loss to California Baptist (9-3), 3-1, Saturday.

Match One
In the opening set UTEP began by distributing the ball, with five different Miners recording a kill in the first 12 points of the match. The Aztecs would string together six straight points, but UTEP would answer with its own run to get within one point, 18-17. The two teams would trade punches until the score was knotted up at 24-24. SDSU would seize the set, scoring the next two points.

An early 5-0 run in the second set by UTEP forced an Aztec timeout. SDSU would put together an answer in the form of a 4-0 run to make the score 10-8. Austin, late in the set, tallied back-to-back kills to tie the score at 21-21. The final points of the set were dominated by Jones and Austin, who combined for five kills to earn victory for the Miners, 25-23.

The Miners started out on fire in the third set behind service aces from Bustillos and Austin to form a Miner lead of 5-1. SDSU would force a timeout by UTEP when it gained control of the set, 12-11, after a 5-0 run.

Back and forth action would ensue and with the score tied, 26-26, for the second time in the match, Jones produced her third ace of the set and secured the victory for UTEP in the set.

The Aztecs raced out to a 15-8 advantage in the fourth set. The Miners chipped away at the lead, forcing an Aztec timeout with the score, 18-16. There was stellar play from Austin, who notched her 18th kill of the match in the set. SDSU locked in its focus and ended up taking control of the final stages of the game to force a fifth set, 25-19.

With the Orange and Blue leading the deciding fifth set, 11-7, SDSU made a push to cut the lead to one point. Briana Arellano halted the home-team momentum with a kill. Jones capped off her career performance, notching her 17th kill of the match as UTEP claimed victory, 15-13.

Watts’s Thoughts
“Every person contributed, whether from the court or from the bench. San Diego State pushed us and we responded well.”

Net Notes

  • Cheyenne Jones recorded a career-high 17 kills
  • Kristen Fritsche locked in her first 50+ assist performance (54)
  • UTEP is now 2-0 in five-set matches this season
  • This is the second victory over SDSU in program history
  • First victory on an opponent’s home court since November 6, 2016 (FAU)
  • Austin and Fritsche both named to SDSU Challenge All-Tournament Team

Match Two
UTEP was led by Macey Austin, who notched 13 kills for the Miners. Senior Ashley Grzebeniak and Martine Kragholm both added eight kills. Briana Bustillos paced UTEP with a career-high 22 digs and Mallory Yost posted three blocks. Kristen Fritsche locked in 37 assists for the Orange and Blue.

The Lancers jump out to a 6-1 lead in the first set and did not look back. Despite efforts from Cheyenne Jones, with three kills and a pair of blocks, CBU took the first set 25-11.

The second set was dominated by Grzebeniak, when she posted six kills and two blocks in the set. UTEP rode that momentum all the way to a set victory (25-19), evening up the set count at 1-1.

The Lancers came out firing to a 7-4 lead, forcing a UTEP timeout behind some efficient offense. CBU would then balloon the lead to 17-8, and seize the set 25-14.

The fourth set was tied at 3-3 but the Lancers went on a 5-0 run to gain the momentum. The Miners would stay within striking distance, but ultimately fell to CBU, 25-18, losing the set and match.

Watts’s Thoughts
“Ali (Vidali) and Ashley (Grzebeniak) went in there and did a really nice job for us. Our middle (blockers) Martine (Kragholm) and Mallory (Yost) also played great at the net. We are looking forward to starting Conference USA play with a clean slate. All of our goals are still ahead of us.”

Net Notes

Grzebeniak’s eight kills was a season high

Up Next
UTEP Volleyball will open up conference play at Rice (9-4), on Thursday (5 p.m. MT), before coming back home to take on Southern Miss (6-7), on Sunday, Sept. 23 (12 p.m. MT). Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids. For more information about the team day program call the UTEP marketing department at (915) 747-6065.