Photo courtesy UTEP Volleyball
The UTEP volleyball team will take its 1-1 Conference USA record on the road when it competes in its first away match against UTSA at the Convocation Center in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday. First serve against the 1-0 Roadrunners is set for 11 a.m. (MT).
The Miners finished their opening weekend of league play by splitting their matches, first getting a five-set win Friday night against Rice, then dropping in four sets to UAB on Sunday. Macey Austin had a career-day on Friday, knocking down 27 kills for a new career-high kills in a match while freshman Cheyenne Jones added 14 kills of her own for her new collegiate-career high.
Briana Arellano recorded her third double-double, throwing down 12 kills at a .324 clip while also picking up 18 digs. The Miner defense had double-digit dig showings from Niki Cebak (18), Arellano (18), and Ali Vidali (14). UTEP also had a block party Friday night, recording 22 block assists with Kylie Baumgartner leading the way with seven, to stop the Owl offense.
The Blazers would tarnish the Miners’ perfect conference record with their 3-1 win on Sunday. UTEP was still able to get double-digit kills from Austin, who finished the match with 10, while Arellano notched eight of her own.
The UTEP defense worked toward 53 digs, with Cebak tallying 18 and Vidali recording 12, and the Miners teamed up for 18 block assists, with Kylie Baumgartner leading the effort with six block assists and three solo blocks.
Both UTEP and UTSA have similar overall records on the season. UTEP will be vying to get ahead in conference standings and build up its 4-11 record while the Roadrunners will meet with North Texas on Friday prior to meeting with the Miners and look to improve their 3-10 overall record.
Live stats will be available for both matches and Sunday’s match will be live streamed from Memorial Gym.
UTSA Scouting Report
Series: Sunday’s road game will mark the 37th meeting between the Miners and Roadrunners. UTEP holds the all-time series lead 21-17. The two first met on September 29, 1983 in San Antonio, Texas, where the Miners took the 2-0 victory. They met again in Novemeber of that year, where the Miners again earned the 2-0 win. The two last met on October 16, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas, with the Roadrunners edging the Miners 3-2 for the victory.
ROAD RUNNER Notables
UTSA is coming off a 3-1 Conference USA road victory over Southern Miss on Sunday to bounce back from its 3-0 loss to No. 6 Texas on Sept. 19. Leading the Roadrunner offense is Brianna McCulloch, who has recorded 218 kills (3.82 per set), and currently ranks fourth on Conference USA’s kills list for the season.
Joining her on the list is Marijeta Runjic, who ranks sixth in conference this season with 195 kills (3.48 per set), and is coming off her career-high kills in a match with 24 against Southern Miss. Helping the offense is Amanda Gonzales, who sits sixth in Conference USA standings in assists with 537, dishing out 9.76 per set. The Roadrunner defense has been paced by Emily Ramirez with 167 digs (3.48 per set) and McCulloch with 131 (2.47 per set).
Stopping UTSA opponent’s offense is Kara Teal and Runjic. Teal has notched 37 total blocks, six of which are solo blocks, while Runjic has tallied 31 total blocks, including two solo blocks.
FRIDAY NIGHT UPSET
Behind a loud Memorial Gym crowd of 230, the UTEP women’s volleyball team downed Rice in five sets to begin Conference USA play with a win last Friday. The Miners took set one in a thrilling 28-26 fashion, but the Owls came back to claim set two 25-16. UTEP would get the set three win 25-22 but Rice answered with a 25-19 set four victory to force a fifth a decisive set.
In another down-to-the-wire set, the Miners prevailed to get the 16-14 victory and take the match 3-2. It was the first win over Rice since 2013.
Pacing the Miner offense was Macey Austin, who hammered down a new career-high 27 kills with only ten errors, followed by freshman Cheyenne Jones with 14 kills. Briana Arellano recorded her third double-double, throwing down 12 kills at a .324 clip while also picking up 18 digs. Amanda King dished out 55 assists, and the Miner defense had double-digit showings from Niki Cebak (18), Arellano (18), and Ali Vidali (14). UTEP also had a block party Friday night, recording 22 block assists with Kylie Baumgartner leading the way with seven, to stop the Owl offense.
In total, the Miners totaled 74 kills, 69 assists, six service aces, 66 digs and 22 block assists. The Owls had 67 kills, 63 assists, five service aces, 77 digs, four solo blocks and 16 block assists.
AUSTIN’S GOES FOR 27
Sophomore sensation Macey Austin again led the Miner offense this past weekend, hammering down a new career-high 27 kills to lead UTEP to a 3-2 win its Conference USA opener against Rice. Austin’s effort against the Owls added to her 43-kill effort through three games, which also included 10 digs and six block assists for a total of 46 points. Austin also had a double-digit kill day, the only Miner to do so, on Sunday against UAB.
Austin notched 10 kills while also picking up five digs for the Miners in their 3-1 loss to the Blazers. The Keller, Texas, native has stayed a steady force for the Miners, leading the team with 179 kills on the season and recording 3.58 kills per set on the weekend. Austin broke into Conference USA overall rankings as well, sitting in 10th place for kills this season with 179 (3.25 per set).
BAUMGARTNER’S BLOCK PARTY
Kylie Baumgartner recorded 13 total blocks, including three solo blocks agaisnt UAB, through the two conference matches this past weekend to lead the Miners. The six-foot junior has 10 solo blocks and 35 block assists on the season, leading the team with 45 total blocks.
ARELLANO NOTCHES THIRD DOUBLE-DOUBLE
Briana Arellano recorded her third double-double, throwing down 12 kills at a .324 clip while also picking up 18 digs against Rice on Friday. The sophomore now has 100 kills and 117 digs on the year. The El Paso native’s last double-double came on Sept. 15 against Portland when she notched 10 kills and a career-high 14 digs.