The UTEP volleyball team dropped a four-set heartbreaker to Houston, 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 20-25 and 22-25) on Friday in Houston, Texas. The Miners fall to 15-6 overall this season and 5-3 in Conference USA.
Xitlali Herrera posted a double-double with 13 kills, 14 digs and added one block assists.
Malia Patterson also registered a double-double against the Cougars tallying 44 assists and 16 digs.
UTEP trailed 2-1 in the opening set, but the Miners quickly recover and tied the frame at 5-5 with a kill by Marie-Therese Joyce. UTEP mounted an assault with back-to-back rips from Jeane Horton to take an 8-5 lead. The Miners strung together five straight points to build a commanding 18-11 advantage. Herrera blasted the ball to seal the set 25-16. UTEP hit an impressive .485 in the set while holding the Cougars to .333.
The Miners carried the momentum into the second stanza. UTEP took an early 4-1 lead off back-to-back Houston errors. The Cougars responded with a pair of points to take an 11-9 lead and forcing a UTEP timeout. Bridget Logan hammered the ball to knot the frame at 12-12. Both teams battled for control but the Cougars would not relent and took the frame, 25-20.
Houston jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a kill by Katie Norris and a bad set by Patterson. The two teams traded points with neither team able to fully claim momentum. The Cougars finally took the lead with back-to-back kills by Norris, forcing a UTEP timeout. The Miners were able to regroup and pull together three consecutive points. Stephanie Nwachukwu fired back to stop the threat and she responded with a kill to give Houston a 13-9 lead. The Cougars held the advantage and a Miner attack error gave Houston control of the match.
UTEP started strong in the fourth frame, sprinting out to an early 3-0 lead behind kills from Herrera and Logan but allowed Houston to fight back to take a 4-7 lead. The Miners regained control at 8-7 off three consecutive Cougar errors and a kill by Joyce. Logan blasted the ball to give the Miners the biggest lead in the set at 13-11. UTEP would get as close as 18-20 with another kill by Joyce, but the Cougars finished the set out 25-22.
The Miners look to rebound at Rice on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 1:00 p.m. before returning home to face Southern Miss on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Gym.