The UTEP volleyball team came back from a two set disadvantage and dominated the remanding three frames to defeat Tulane (24-26, 19-25, 25-16, 25-22, 15-11) on Sunday.
“I think we were distracted in the first two sets,” said head coach Ken Murphy. “The momentum just built at the start of the third set. In game five we were forced to keep our focus. We were able to regroup and score the last few points of the match.”
Jeane Horton hammered a match-high 22 kills with only two errors and registered a .377 hitting efficiency. The outside hitter didn’t stop there as she added seven digs and seven blocks (1s/6a) for the Miners. Horton has compiled 384 kills this season surpassing her season total of 380 recorded during the 2011 campaign.
Xitlali Herrera also had a stellar performance posting 17 kills, 10 digs, three block assists and hit .333 versus the Green Wave.
Junior Malia Patterson paced the offense with her ninth double-double of the season with 52 assists and 10 digs. Protecting the net for UTEP was senior Cassandra Burruel, who posted her third double-digit block performance with 10 (1s/9a).
UTEP (13-11, 7-5 C-USA) registered a .258 hitting percentage and held Tulane to .253. The Miners are now 6-1 at home against Conference USA opponents this season. UTEP totaled 65 kills, 14 total blocks, 46 digs and five aces. The Green Wave finished the match with 63 kills and 12.5 total blocks.
The Miners opened the match with a 9-4 lead, but the Green Wave fought back going on a 7-1 run to take a one-point advantage at 11-10. Both squads traded points until a 4-1 run by Tulane gave the Green Wave a two-point edge forcing UTEP to call a timeout. The Miners would not back down recording a 5-2 run with a kill and block assists by Jacqueline Cason, a service ace by Amber Massey, a Herrera kill and a Tulane attack error. The Green Wave would not relent tallying a 5-2 run giving them a 24-22 advantage. Horton attempted to bring the Miners back from the deficit with a kill and block assist, but it wasn’t enough as Tulane took the set with a block by Izabela Grot and a UTEP error, 26-24.
Tulane came out with the same momentum surging to an 8-3 lead in the second stanza. UTEP would cut the Green Waves edge to three with a kill by Cason and another Tulane attack error. The teams would go back and forward until three consecutive Green Wave points put Tulane ahead. 15-9. The Miners fought back with a 3-1 run led by another block assists by Burruel and Cason. Tulane would stop the Miners run posting a 7-1 run to make it 23-14. The Miners tried to recover pounding a 5-1 run lead by Horton, who registered one kill and two blocks for UTEP. One final kill by the Green Wave closed the frame, 25-19.
Tulane took an early 4-1 lead in the third set, but UTEP answered back with a 4-1 run with the help of Burruel who executed a kill and block tying the set at 5-5. The Green Wave posted three back-to-back strikes to take a three-point advantage. The Miners wouldn’t go away so easy, registering a 5-2 run forcing Tulane to commit three errors tying the set, 10-10. UTEP’s momentum shifted as they hammered an outstanding 5-0 run to pull ahead of the Green Wave, 15-12. UTEP seemed unstoppable as they tallied four straight points off of two Tulane errors, a service ace by Herrera and a block assists by Burruel and Horton. The Miners pounded another 5-1 run lead by back-to-back block assists by Burruel and Cason to give UTEP a 24-15 edge. The set was sealed with a service error by Tulane, 25-16.
The team started out the fourth frame with neither squad able to develop any momentum to take control. It was until five consecutive Tulane points sent UTEP to the bench for a timeout at 8-4. The Miners came back from the deficit as Herrera struck with two kills to come within two, 10-12. Tulane tallied two points, but UTEP would not go down without a fight as the Miners pounded back-to-back kills to once again close the gap to two, 13-15. The Miners drive shifted as they registered a 7-1 run with three kills by Herrera. Tulane tried to come back recording a 4-2 run but three UTEP strikes gave the Miners the set, 25-22.
UTEP leapt out to a 5-3 lead in the fifth and final set forcing an early Green Wave timeout. The Miners dominance continued as UTEP registered two more points with the help of Horton who posted a block assists and a kill for a 7-3 lead. Tulane was able to compile a 3-1 run to get as close as tow but the Miners would answer back with a 3-1 run of their own. The Green Wave earned five consecutive points tying the set at 11-11. The Miners headed towards the end of the set with a 4-0 run with kills from Bridget Logan, Horton and Herrera and sealed the frame with a Tulane attack error.
The Miners will continue their home slate against SMU at 7 p.m. (MT) on Friday.