Huntington, W. Va. – UTEP dropped its final regular season match versus Marshall, 3-0 (20-25, 13-25, 14-25), on Thursday but clinched a spot in the 2016 C-USA Volleyball Championships hosted by Rice.
Briana Arellano led the squad with seven kills with only two errors. Helping protect the net was senior Lindsey Larson, who posted three blocks, five digs, four kills and added 12 assists. Kylie Baumgartner matched Larson with three blocks and registered three kills on the night. Senior Sarah Villa contributed to the defense with seven total digs.
UTEP (8-20, 5-9 C-USA) finished with 25 kills, 29 digs, 22 assists, five blocks and two service aces, but it was not enough as Marshall tallied 47 kills at an impressive .380 clip, 47 digs, 42 assists, six blocks and two service aces.
At the start of the first set, the score was tied, 6-6, before Marshall battled back to take a 8-6 lead. UTEP earned a point off of an attack error by Marshall’s Ally Kiekover and the teams went point for point until Marshall called a timeout on the court.
UTEP answered with a kill by Baumgartner but a 4-0 run by Marshall extended the Herd’s lead to 15-10 and a timeout was called from the Miner’s bench. After the break, the Orange and Blue came back within three points, 19-22, until Marshall called for a timeout of its own. Arellano scored a point off of a service ace but it was the last point UTEP would put up on the scoreboard as the Thundering Herd claimed a 25-20 set victory.
Marshall took a 10-5 advantage in the second set and UTEP was forced to call a timeout. The Miners would fight back with eight more points to come within five points, 3-18, but the Herd retaliated with a 7-0 run that gave Marshall a 25-13 second-set win and a 2-0 match lead.
The third set was tied, 2-2, but Marshall took a 7-2 with five-straight points. The Herd extended its lead, 11-4, before UTEP called for its first timeout of the stanza. Arellano sparked four more points for the Miners but Marshall went on a 7-1 run to set the score at 20-9. Winter picked up two more kills in the set but the Thundering Herd ultimately won the set, 25-14, and the match 3-0 over UTEP.
UTEP finished eighth in the league with a 5-9 C-USA record and will head to the 2016 C-USA Volleyball Championships in Houston, Texas. Rice will serve as the tournament host, which is scheduled for Nov. 18-20.