Both of UTEP’s weekend matches in Florida will be live streamed through CUSA.tv, which requires a paid subscription. | Photo courtesy UTEP
BOWLING, KY- Although there were key performances from UTEP, the Miners were fell to Conference USA leader and undefeated WKU (25-22, 25-11, 25-17) on Friday at the E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, KY.
The Hilltoppers remained untouched at 8-0 in league play, while the Miners fell to 1-7.
“We came out strong tonight,” head coach Holly Watts said. “Then WKU got on track and played like the conference leader. There were times we didn’t look like the underdog however, with big performances by Macey [Austin], Cheyenne [Jones], and Bri [Arellano], who ended with good numbers.”
Macey Austin pushed to notch 10 kills, her eighth double-digit kill match in a row, to lead the team while Cheyenne Jones added nine kills of her own and Briana Arellano recorded six. Arellano also picked up six digs and served up an ace. Amanda King dished out 23 assists while also pacing the team in digs with eight and one solo block.
As a team, the Miners saw 30 kills, 28 assists, five service aces, 32 digs, and one solo block while the Hilltoppers saw 47 kills, 41 assists, eight service aces, 49 digs, and eight total team blocks.
The Miners kept pace with the league leader in set one, tying with the Hilltoppers six times before pulling away to a 11-7 lead behind kills by Mallory Yost, Jones, and Austin. WKU called a timeout and recorded its first block assist when they returned to the court, but consecutive kills by Austin and Jones and a WKU attack error kept the Miners up 14-8.
UTEP would notch two more points from Kylie Baumgartner’s kill and Ashley Grzebeniak’s service ace, but WKU would begin to spark a run.
Five more Miner points were secured, three coming from kills and a service ace by Arellano and two coming from a Yost kill and WKU attack error, to keep UTEP up, 21-18. The Hilltoppers scored five unanswered points before Arellano stopped the run with a kill, but WKU got right back to its run to close the set 25-22.
The Hilltoppers regrouped for a convincing 25-11 set two win, but Austin had a solid set with five kills and Jones had three.
Set three saw the WKU climb to a 10-6 lead before Austin earned another kill and Orozco served an ace to get within four, 14-10. Jones and Yost each found the hardwood, but back-to-back kills from the Hilltoppers kept the Miners at bay 18-13. Two attack errors on WKU’s behalf gave the Miners within five, and King notched another ace to bring the score to 20-16.
Four kills by WKU’s Alyssa Cavanaugh out-numbered Austin’s 10th kill of the match, and Rachel Anderson would throw down the hammer to end the set 25-17, and the match 3-0.
The Miners will return to action against Rice on Sunday at the Tudor Fieldhouse. The Miners beat the Owls in five sets in their first meeting on Sept. 22. First serve is slated for noon.