UTEP libero Stephanie Figueroa picked up a match-high 16 digs, Xitlali Herrera posted a team-high 11 kills and Jeane Horton hammered 10 kills, but in the end SMU won a defensive struggle, 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 25-23), in Moody Collseum on Friday night.
In a contest in which neither side could get much going offensively, it was the SMU defense that made the difference, holding UTEP to a .176 clip for the match.
Both teams came out fighting in the first set and kept it close for the first half of the match, but a 4-1 run gave the Mustangs a 16-11 advantage forcing a UTEP timeout. SMU extended its lead to 22-16, but the Miners fought back with a kill by Bridget Logan and a bad set by Kelli Becerraon. The Mustangs held on to the led off of back-to-back Miner errors and closed out the set 25-20 with a kill by Dana Powell.
The Miners came out strong in the second frame going on a 3-0 run with back-to-back kills by Horton and Marie-Therese Joyce giving the Miners a 6-4 advantage. SMU came back from the deficit and went on a 4-1 run with a trio of UTEP errors to make it 10-8, forcing UTEP to call a timeout. The Miners came out of the timeout on a 3-0 run to take an 11-10 lead, but the Mustangs fought back with a run of their own to take a 14-11 advantage. Both teams battled for control of the set and the Miners came within one with back-to-back kills by Horton and Esther Warren, forcing SMU to take a timeout. The Mustangs went on a 6-1 run to seal the frame, 25-20.
Both teams went back and forth early in the set, but the Mustangs took control going on a 7-1 run giving them a 14-7 advantage. The Miners came back from the deficit going on a 3-1 run with a pair of SMU errors and a kill by Horton. Both teams battled for control and the Miners came within one point, but SMU closed out the match with a kill by Caroline Young.
UTEP will travel to Tulsa, Okla. to take on Conference USA champion Tulsa on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 12 p.m. MT.