Photo courtesy UTEP
The UTEP volleyball team (11-12, 4-6) will host Middle Tennessee (12-13, 5-5) on Friday at 6 p.m. MT, and North Texas (15-8, 9-2) on Sunday at 1 p.m. MT.
The Blue Raiders are currently on a five-match winning streak, and are one match ahead of the Miners in the Conference USA standings. Dora Peonia leads the squad with 306 kills, with a .204 hitting percentage. Taylor Hammill has locked in 10.08 assists per set, and Mikaela Weidmann has a team-high 85 blocks.
North Texas is one of three teams to have already punched its ticket to the C-USA tournament. The Mean Green sits third atop the league with a 9-2 record in conference. Valerie Valerian has helped lead them to this point, amassing 372 kills on the year.
The top eight teams in Conference USA make the post-season tournament, and the Miners currently sit at eighth in the standings with a 4-6 league record.
Historically, six conference wins will get a team into the tournament. UTEP has three home matches left on the schedule, and are 4-2 in its last six contests. The Orange and Blue seems to be playing some of their best volleyball of the season, and are poised to make the C-USA tourney for the first time in three years.
Cheyenne Jones is second on the team with 210 kills this season. On the road against Southern Miss Jones recorded a new career high in kills (25), and hit the eighth-best hitting percentage (.465) for a five-set match in school history. She produced 24 kills versus UIW earlier in the year.
Against Houston at the Red Raider Classic she locked in 17 kills on a .429 hitting clip, helping boost the Miners to a comeback victory. This season she has improved on her hitting percentage from last year (.186), posting a .251 hitting clip.
Serena Patterson was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week after her performance against Marshall (10/25). She is the first offensive player of the week for the Miners since 2013 (Xitalili Herrera – 10/21/13). Patterson had 16 kills and recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 13 digs.
The Orange and Blue won five matches all of last season. They have already more than doubled that mark with 11 victories. UTEP has also surpassed the Conference win total from 2018 (two) with four. During 2018 the Miners were victorious in only one match in Memorial Gym, and in 2019 they have four.
The Miners have posted a .380 hitting % or higher on two different occasions this year. The first was against Montana (.393), and the most recent coming versus LA Tech (.381). Prior to these two matches, the last time this happened for UTEP was on August 26, 2011 against Southern (.412).
UTEP has locked in five sweeps this season. This is the most by the Orange and Blue since the 2013 campaign where the Miners had nine.
For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics at UTEPMiners.com.