Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics
LAFAYETTE, La. – The UTEP Volleyball team (2-1) defeated UIW (1-2) in five sets (25-14, 14-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11), 3-2, on Saturday morning at Earl K. Long Fieldhouse.
The Miners have won back-to-back matches and are off to their best start to a season since 2011.
Cheyenne Jones produced a career-high 24 kills along with four blocks in the victory. Alex Torres also had a career day, with career highs in digs (26), assists (13) and service aces (four). Serena Patterson produced a double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs. Syenna Masaki led the squad in assists (28) and also locked in 19 digs.
The Miners were sporting a 5-4 lead early on in the first set. UTEP would gain control with a 6-1 run to put it ahead, 11-5. It never looked back, cruising to a 25-14 victory. The Orange and Blue were reliant on the hot hand of Jones, who posted six kills in the set on a .600 hitting percentage. The Miners also racked up five service aces that helped carry them to the first-frame win.
The Cardinals bounced back and in the second frame, 25-14, and evened up the set count at 1-1.
UTEP found itself trailing for most of the third set. The Miners made a late push, cutting the deficit to two, 23-21, late in the set. However, UIW stayed the course, finishing off the set, 25-21.
The Miners were in complete control of the fourth frame, and were looking at match point, 24-17, as the Cardinals took a timeout. UIW came out on fire, scoring six straight points to make the score 24-23 in favor of UTEP. The Orange and Blue would hold strong and finish off the set to force a fifth and deciding frame.
UTEP rode that momentum all the way to a classic fifth-set victory over UIW, 15-1.
Next up, the Miners will come home to play at historic Memorial Gym on Friday, Sept. 6 against Coppin State at 10 a.m. MT.
Notes >> This is the first time since 2011 where the Miners have won two or matches on opening weekend.