UTEPvTAMCC | Photo by Marcus Sarate-TAMCC

UTEP Volleyball splits two in Opening Day at Islanders Classic

CORPUS CHRISTI  – UTEP volleyball (9-2) split Friday’s doubleheader with a victory over host Texas A&M – Corpus Christi (4-6), 3-1 (12-25, 25-16, 25-13, 25-20) and a loss against Texas State (4-9), 0-3 (21-25, 22-25, 22-25) at the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Tournament.

Both opponents are reigning conference champions.

UTEP 3, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi 1

The UTEP volleyball team topped the Islanders, 3-1 (12-25, 25-16, 25-13, 25-20) at the Islanders Classic Friday.

UTEP had two players reach double-digit in kills, senior Serena Patterson (19) and Yasso Amin (11). Hande Yetis achieved 24 assists while Kristen Fritsche tallied 17 assists. Alyssa Sianez and Yetis recorded three service aces each. On the defense, Sianez set the pace with 13 digs and Paulina Perez Rosas followed with 10 digs.

The Miners totaled 10 blocks against the Islanders.

“We came back this afternoon against a good team,” head coach Ben Wallis said. “We lost big time in the first set. Our team could’ve easily folded up shop and felt sorry for themselves and nobody was doing that. I flipped the lineup a little bit and Alyssa (Sianez) and Paulina (Perez Rosas) just did a marvelous job of going out there and passing in a two-person serve receive.

“That got us functioning better because we got attackers flying in there and hitting it,” Wallis said. “Once we got back in a good serve-reception mode, we were really dangerous.”

Getting off to a rocky start, the Miners were only able to tie up the first set twice. They were no match for the Islanders and lost the set, 25-12.

After four lead changes, the Miners bounced back with three straight service aces from Sianez and two consecutive service aces from Yetis. UTEP would go on a 10-1 scoring run to win the second set, 25-16.

The Miners continued the momentum into the third set with a 5-0 scoring run. With no tie scores and no lead changes, they pulled ahead to top the Islanders, 25-13.

The final set consisted of an intense exchange of points as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi tried to keep up with UTEP. The Islanders trailed by just two points before the Miners heated up, retained the lead and closed out the match, 3-1.

“We got back to our identity and it was really good to see that because we were searching for that confidence,” Wallis said. “We were relentless from the service line again. It was really nice to see.”

Texas State 3, UTEP 0

The UTEP volleyball team suffered its first loss by sweep of the season against Texas State, 3-0 (21-25, 22-25, 22-25) at the Islanders Classic Friday.

Senior lead setter Fritsche recorded 20 assists and one service ace in the contest. Sianez led the team with 15 digs. On the offense, the Miners’ kill leaders were Patterson (nine), Perez Rosas (eight), and Ema Uskokovic (seven).

The Miners out-blocked the Bobcats, 11-0.

“We were completely out of sorts and just couldn’t find any confidence whatsoever,” head coach Ben Wallis said. “We served and hit it well enough to win, but we just passed it poorly, dug it poorly and didn’t have a very good attitude and outlook on what we were doing.”

With 10 tied scores and three lead changes, Texas State closed out the first set with an 8-1 scoring run.

UTEP attempted to rally toward the end of the second set with a 5-1 scoring run trailing 23-22, but was stopped by Texas State once again.

The Miners gained some steam in the final set, producing 13 tied scores and five lead changes but were no match for the Bobcats’ sweep victory.

UTEP will look for its second straight win when it concludes the tournament against Tarleton State at 9:30 a.m. MT Saturday. Live stats and a broadcast will be available.

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