The UTEP volleyball team continues to dominate as they extended their wining streak to six on Sunday. The Miners defeated Memphis, 3-1 (25-15, 25-20, 26-24, 25-19) at Memorial Gym.
Juniors Jeane Horton, Xitlai Herrera and Malia Patterson led the team past the Tigers. Horton hammered a team-best 15 kills, four digs and one block assist. Herrera posted 12 kills, nine blocks (4a/5a), seven digs and registered a .280 hitting percentage. Patterson tallied 39 assists, five digs and two block assists.
“This was a great team win,” said head coach Ken Murphy. “We had a lot of things going right in the first two sets and then we relaxed a little bit and Memphis took advantage. It was good for the team to have to battle back and win the fourth game.”
UTEP’s team record is 10-7 overall and 4-1 in Conference USA play.
Both teams battled for control of the opening set, but UTEP would pull away going on a 4-1 with a pair of kills by Taylor Nix and Herrera, a block a assists by Herrera and Jacqueline Cason and a Memphis service error. The Miners continued to move ahead by six, 17-9, with a four kills by juniors Horton and Herrera. Cassandra Burruel would extend UTEP’s advantage with two strikes putting the team up 20-11.
The second frame was much like the first as the Miner surged to a 4-2 advantage with three consecutive UTEP points led by a block and kill by Herrera. Both teams went back and forward and the Miners were forced to call a timeout to regroup at 11-12. The Miners bounced back rushing out to a 7-1 run off of four attack errors by the Tigers, a kill and block by Burruel and a kill by Horton.
The third set saw nine tied scores and four lead changes. The Tigers opened the set 4-1, but UTEP answered back going on another 7-1 run led by a pair of kills by Burruel. Memphis closed the gap with a 5-1 run forcing the Miners to call a timeout at 15-16. The Tigers pulled together another 4-1 run but UTEP would not relent registering a 6-1 run led by juniors Nix and Herrea. Herrera was a force at the net with a two blocks and a kill. Nix posted two kills as the Miners took a 23-22 advantage. Memphis would not go away though as they tallied three consecutive points to seal the frame, 26-24.
The Miners took control earlier in final set grabbing a 9-6 lead. After a Tiger timeout, UTEP’s lead increased to five, 14-9, courtesy of two straight Horton kills and a Memphis attack error. Despite a4-1 run by the Tigers, the Miners battled back as Taylor Nix and Horton each tallied a kill and an Amber Massey ace giving UTEP a four-point advantage. The Miners momentum continued with Horton hammering a trio of kills and forcing a Memphis attack error to close the set, 25-19.
UTEP will travel to Houston to take on Rice on Friday at 6 p.m. (MT) and Houston on Sunday at 12 p.m.