Jeane Horton posted a career-high 20 kills and recorded a .304 hitting percentage to lead the UTEP volleyball team to a 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-21, 26-24) victory over Marshall on Friday in Huntington, W.Va.
The Miners improve to 12-5 and 2-2 in Conference USA while the Thundering Herd move to 2-12 and 1-3 in league action.
“This win says a lot about the character of this team,” head coach Ken Murphy said. “I think Marshall played great defense but we just kept competing.”
Horton played a large part in the Miners’ assault, as she produced five blocks (2s/3a). Xitlali Herrera also chipped in a stellar performance, posting a double-double with 12 kills, 17 digs and adding five blocks, while Bridget Logan tallied 11 kills.
Malia Patterson dished out 46 assists and also contributed 12 digs and two blocks.
Leading the Miners defense was Stephanie Figueroa with 18 digs.
“Our seniors were especially important tonight,” Murphy said. “They kept their composure and helped the team come together.”
UTEP opened the contest with a 2-1 advantage off a block by Herrera and Logan. Marshall took the lead at 2-4 off a kill from Cameron Yoho and back-to-back attack errors by the Miners. As both teams battled for control, Logan hammered the ball to tie the score 9-9. The two teams swapped points until Marshall committed an attack error giving the Miners five consecutive points to run up on the Herd 20-14. UTEP sealed the set with a kill by Herrera to give the Miners a 25-20 victory.
The second frame witnessed seven tie scores and three lead changes. Both teams put in their best efforts, with the Herd posting 14 kills in the frame while hitting .286 and UTEP laced 12 kills. Marshall maintained control of the frame, with a kill from Sacha Byousmcconnell to give the Herd a 19-14 lead. UTEP tried to take control but Marshall did not relent. Two attack errors by the Miners gave the Herd a 25-20 victory.
The two teams swapped points to start the set until UTEP pushed to a 6-3 advantage. With the Miners ahead 15-12, a kill by Horton pushed the Miners to 19-16, forcing a Marshall timeout. UTEP took a 23-19 led off a bad set by Sammie Bane. UTEP’s Horton ripped the ball for a kill to win the set 25-21.
The Miners opened the fourth set in the same fashion, surging to a 3-0 lead off an ace by Victoria Valencia. With UTEP up 9-7 the Herd began to chip away at the lead, forcing an attack error to tie the set at 10-10. After back-to-back kills by Desirre Wilkerson and Yoho, Marshall found themselves back in the set, 13-11. UTEP took a timeout to regroup and look for a way to take charge of the Thundering Herd. Bane hammered the ball to give Marshall a 19-15 lead forcing UTEP to take its final timeout. The break proved to be effective, as Horton posted four kills and two blocks to give UTEP a 26-24 victory over Marshall.
The Miners next head to Greenville, N.C. to take on ECU at noon on Sunday, Sept. 30.