The UTEP volleyball team dropped its second-straight match to UAB, falling 3-1 (20-25, 25-18, 14-25, 21-25) to the Blazers Sunday morning at Bartow Arena.
“UAB blocked really well and affected our confidence,” head coach Ken Murphy said. “We committed many errors and I think it had to do with the way UAB was defending.”
The UAB (20-7, 10-5) defense held the Miners (17-11, 7-8) to a .109 hitting percentage despite Xitlali Herrera and Jeane Horton turning in 15 kills and 14 kills, respectively. Herrera also recorded 13 digs, while Bridget Logan downed 10 kills. Malia Patterson finished the match with a double-double posting 41 assists and 21 digs, while libero Stephanie Figueroa had 29 digs.
A kill from Logan and three UAB errors pushed the Miners lead to 4-2 and powered a 5-2 run that gave UTEP a 10-6 advantage. UAB would not relent and regrouped, however, going on a 6-1 run to make it 14-14 and force UTEP to call a timeout. Both teams swapped points until the Blazers went on an 8-1 run with a kill by Kate Morrell and a block assists by Sam Serley and Ashley Ricks. UAB maintained the lead and a kill by Thais Soares sealed the set, 25-20.
The second frame began much like the first, as the Miners opened up with a 6-3 advantage behind a kill by Marie-Therese Joyce. UTEP maintained its advantage for the first half of the set and led 14-10, but back-to-back block assists by Serley and Ricks cut the Miners advantage to 14-12. UTEP responded with a pair of kills from Logan and Horton and a service ace by Rachel Scott, forcing a Blazers timeout. UAB would only get as close as 24-19 before back-to-back kills by Herrera and Logan gave the Miners a 25-19 victory.
Both teams traded points to open the third frame. UTEP’s Herrera hammered three kills and a block to give UTEP a 5-4 lead. The Blazers responded with three consecutive points taking a 7-5 lead. The Miners would not give up and a block assists by Horton and Joyce tied the set at 7-7. UAB went on a 7-2 run with back-to-back blocks by Kiriana Hirini giving the Blazers a 16-9 advantage and forcing a UTEP timeout. The Miners would come as close as 21-14 a UTEP attack error and a trio of Blazer kills would close the set out, 25-14.
Just as in the third set, both teams swapped points and a kill by Herrera would put the Miners within one, 9-10. The Blazers answered back with a 4-0 run with two block assists by Ricks and Hirini, forcing a UTEP timeout. The Miners regrouped and answered the threat with a pair of kills by Herrera and an attack error by Alison Woods. UAB went on another run with a kill by Ricks, but the Miners came back from the deficit with back-to-back strikes cutting the Blazers lead to 18-16, forcing a UAB timeout. UTEP continued to battle for control and another kill by Herrera put the Miners within one, 22-21. But back-to-back UTEP errors and a kill by Hirini sealed the match, 25-21.
The Miners will return home to face East Carolina on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. and Marshall on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 12 p.m. in Memorial Gym.