The UTEP volleyball team will close its homestand this weekend as they take on SMU at 7 p.m. on Friday and Tulsa at 12 p.m. on Sunday. The Miners (13-11, 7-5 C-USA), will be recognizing seniors Cassandra Burruel and Bridget Logan in the match-up against the Golden Hurricane.
Burruel has protected the net for UTEP this season tallying 107 blocks (14s/93a), 145 kills and recorded a .241 hitting percentage. The middle blocker posted her third double-digit block performance with 10 (1s/9a) against Tulane this past weekend. Bridget Logan has compiled an impressive 625 kills, 97 blocks and 160 digs during her time at UTEP. Both seniors started with the Miners in 2008 and will be graduating in December.
SMU Scouting Report
Series: The Mustangs hold an 20-7 record over the Miners since their first meeting in 1996. The last time the teams met, UTEP dropped the match versus SMU, 3-1 (10/14) in Dallas, Texas. In that meeting, Jeane Horton hammered a match-high 17 kills and recorded a .342 hitting efficiency, while Xitlali Herrera produced 14 kills adding seven blocks (1s/6a)and six digs. The Miners tallied a match-best 13 total team blocks, while the Mustangs only had eight.
SMU goes into the Friday meeting with a 9-15 record, including a 6-6 Conference USA record. Leading the offensive effort for SMU is Caroline Young having already accumulated 303 kills earning her the No. 10 spot in the C-USA standings. The sophomore also knows how to serve up some points with 36 aces thus far checking in at No. 2 in the conference rankings. Being a force at the net is Maddie Lozano, who has produced 106 blocks (13s/93a) during her 2012 campaign. The juniors sit right behind Cassandra Burruel earning the third spot in the C-USA performance list for blocks averaging 1.15 per set.
Tulsa Scouting Report
Series: UTEP comes into the weekend with a 23-27 advantage against the Golden Hurricane. In what proved to be a competitive match, UTEP fell short against Tulsa, 3-2 earlier in the season. Junior Xitlali Herrera lead the Miners offense and defense posting a double-double with 17 kills and 15 digs. Setter Malia Patterson also tallied a double-double in the match-up with 41 assists and 12 digs versus the Golden Hurricane.
Golden Hurricane Notables
Tulsa is lead by top ranked Tyler Henderson, who just recently was named C-USA offensive player of the week for her performance against Memphis (10/25) and UAB (10/28). The senior has totaled 486 kills, 48 blocks (3s/45a) and a .312 hitting percentage this season. The middle blocker leads the conference in kills averaging 5.23 per set and checks in at No. 6 in hitting percentage. Helping the defensive side is senior Jessica Adams as she leads C-USA in digs with a total of 499. The squad is currently ranked first in the league with only one conference lose against UCF (10/7) this season.
Miners in the Rankings
The Miners are among the best in Conference USA statistically, placing first in hitting percentage (.238), while ranking second in blocks per set (2.41), third in assists per set (12.16) and kills per set (13.27) and eighth in service aces (1.00). The squad has collected an impressive 1194 kills, 1094 assists, 217 blocks (48s/338a) and 90 aces.
Nationally, UTEP is ranked in the top 65 in two categories; hitting percentage (56th), and blocks per set (64th). The Miners also check in 97th in kills per set.
Better Late then Never
UTEP stumbled out of the gates at home (0-3) but has come on strong since. The Miners are 6-1 since including a victory against NM State (9/26). It was the first time since 2001 that the Miners proved to be victorious against the Aggies at Memorial Gym. UTEP has also defeated Southern Miss (9/23), UAB (9/28), Memphis (9/30), Houston (10/19) and Tulane (10/28). In those five victories, UTEP has a 18-6 set advantage.
Horton’s Stellar Season
Jeane Horton has already surpassed her season total from last season, tallying 384 kills this season for the Miners. The junior has made major improvements after changing positions during her 2011 campaign. The outside hitter continues to impress and if she maintains this pace Horton would finish second all time at UTEP in kills in a single campaign.
The outside hitter is one of three Conference USA players ranked in the top 30 in the nation for kills per set. The junior is 28th in the nation averaging 4.26 kills per set. The Fresno, Calif., native is one of the two players to rank in the top 10 in conference in hitting percentage (.310-8th) and kills per set (3rd).
Malia Patterson is setting her own mark on the court having already secured nine double-doubles this season. Most recently, the junior registered 52 assists and 10 digs versus Tulane (10/28). The setter continues to maintain the No. 2 spot in the conference rankings for assists per set (10.68). The junior has tallied 12 service aces surpassing her mark from last season where she posted five. Patterson can also protect the net as she adds 40 block assists, breaking her 2011 season record of 30. The setter just passed the 211 dig barrier (201).
C-USA Taking Notice
UTEP has earned five Conference USA Athlete of the Week honors this season. Xitlali Herrera is the only individual to earn both of the league’s defensive award (9/10) and offensive award (10/1). The middle blocker has had a stellar season as she recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 15 kills and 11 digs against I-10 rival NM State (9/26). The junior also led the team past Houston (10/7), as she pounded nine kills, 11 digs, two block assists and hit a .300 clip.
Malia Patterson has been recognized by the league twice this season receiving C-USA setter of the week honors (9/24 & 10/1). The junior contributed 56 assists and eight digs versus the Aggies. Patterson tallied 35 assists, nine digs, two block assists and two kills versus the Cougars.
Jeane Horton was named offensive player of the week (9/24) leading the Miners’ attack with a match-high 21 kills on 30 attempts with only two errors as UTEP defeated Southern Miss (9/23).
Juniors Leaving Their Mark
Juniors Xitlali Herrera and Jeane Horton have dented the UTEP recordbook this season.
Herrera continues to leave her mark in the school annals. The middle blocker earned the fourth all-time spot in the recordbook in hitting efficiency in three sets as she registered a .647 hitting percentage against UAB (9/28). Previously, the Mexican native also posted 16 kills on 24 attacks with three errors versus Southern Miss (9/23). She recorded a .542 efficiency to rate fourth all time for hitting percentage in four sets.
Also checking in the category is Horton, who hammered 21 kills on 30 attempts with only two errors against the Golden Eagles. The outside hitter registered a .633 percentage to rank second in the classification.
Xitlali Herrera is an all around player, earning spots in three categories in Conference USA only matches rankings. The junior is ranked fourth in hitting percentage (.328), sixth in blocks (1.09) and ninth in kills (3.22). The middle blocker has contributed seven double-doubles this season for the Miners, most recently pounding 17 kills and 10 digs versus Tulane (10/28). Herrera also earned her career-high dig total in a match with 19 against Rice (10/21). Herrera ranks second on the team in five categories; kills (277), hitting percentage (.304), blocks 89 (13s/76a), digs (235) and service aces (17).
Burruel for the Block
Cassandra Burruel is on a tear in 2012. The senior has crushed her 2011 block total (24) by registering 107 thus far. The senior checks in at No. 2 in Conference USA in blocks per set 1.61. The middle blocker has posted three double-digit block efforts this season with 10 against Tulane (10/28), Fresno State (8/24) and Southern Miss (9/23). Burruel has tallied a total of 145 kills and registered a .241 this season.
Can’t Get Through Here
UTEP’s frontcourt is dominating defensively through 24 matches in 2012. The squad is ranked second in blocks per set in Conference USA and 64th nationally (2.41). Senior Cassandra Burruel is ranked second in the league and 78th nationally averaging 1.19 blocks per set, while Xitlali Herrera checks is eighth at 0.99. The Miners are one of two teams with two individuals in the top 10 in the league’s block rankings. The Orange and Blue are known for defensive prowess. Since Ken Murphy’s arrival, the Miners have averaged 2.26 blocks per frame compared with 1.9 in the five years prior. Additionally, UTEP has strung together three straight top-80 finishes nationally.
Valencia Digs it Away
Victoria Valencia leads the Miners’ defense with a total of 312 digs this season. Her effort surpasses her 2011 season dig total of 229. The libero is averaging 3.47 per set to check in at 10th in the Conference USA performance list. The junior has been effective at the service line with a team-high 21 aces ranking her 10th in the league.