Miners Set to Co-Host UTEP/NMSU Invitational
El Paso, TX — The Miners will be back at Memorial Gym this weekend as they co-host the UTEP/NMSU Invitational with I-10 rival, new Mexico state University. In the tournament UTEP will match-up with South Dakota University 7p.m. (MT) Friday and Hampton University at 2 p.m. Saturday.
This past weekend the Orange and Blue went 2-1, taking second place at the art Carmichael Invitational in Kingston, Rhode Island.
The Miners beat out Hartford and UMass-Lowell in three-set matches but fell to host, Rhode Island in a 1-3 match.
UTEP’s performance was led by standouts Xitlali Herrera and Malia Patterson, who both earned spots on the art Carmichael Invitational all-Tournament team.
Herrera led the Orange and Blue with 44 kills with only 11 errors. The senior also contributed 31 digs and 8 blocks (2s/5a).
Patterson set up the Miners’ court action with 93 assists. The setter also earned her first double-double of the season with 28 assists and 10 digs against tournament champion, Rhode Island.
UTEP is now set at 4-5 with three more matches until Conference USA play.
For live stats please visit: www.utepathletics.com
Southern Scouting Report Series: The Jackrabbits lead the all-time series 1-0. The first meeting was in 2004 with SDSU winning the five set match 3-2. South Dakota is currently 2-7 after dropping two matches last weekend at the FIU Invitational, falling to Jacksonville and the host Panthers by the same 3-0 score. It bounced back with a 3-0 sweep of Tennessee-Chattanooga in the tournament finale (9/15).
Leading South Dakota State University on the court is duo, Wagner Larson and Lexi Fowl.
Larson, who is a sophomore, leads the Jackrabbits with 88 kills and .257 hitting percentage. The middle blocker played in 29 sets over 17 matches in her first season, with five starts.
Fowl is the core of SDSU’s offense as she leads the team with 228 assists. In 2012 the setter started all 29 matches and played in all 116 sets as a junior. The senior led the team with 672 set assists and with 11 double-doubles.
Hampton Scouting Report Series: UTEP and Hampton will match up for the first time at the UTEP/NMSU Invitational.
The Lady Pirates were picked to win MEAC northern Division this season, finishing ahead of defending conference champion Maryland Eastern shore in the voting. Hampton went 19-14 last season and finished third in the MEAC north with a mark of 9-3 — marking the second straight season in which the Lady Pirates finished above .500 in conference play.
Hampton enters the weekend riding a four- match losing streak after dropping its final match at the Boston College Invitational (9/8) to the host Eagles and after falling in all three matches at the Morehead state Eagle Challenge.
The Lady Pirates opened last weekend’s tournament with a 3-1 loss to Campbell (9/13), followed by a 3-1 loss to Morehead state and a 3-2 loss to West Virginia (9/14).
The Lady Pirates, who are 4-5, are well represented in the national rankings, sitting 38th in the nation in aces, averaging 1.64 per set. Hampton is also 79th in all of Div. I in kills, averaging a MEAC-best 13.44 per set.
Lady Pirate Notables
Hampton’s strength is right side hitter Vendula Strakova. The junior has kicked off the 2013 season with consecutive Mid- Eastern athletic Conference (MEAC) Player of the Week honors after capturing three double-doubles this past weekend at the Morehead state Eagle Challenge, totaling 60 kills and 55 digs for the weekend. She recorded a season-high 27 kills and added 23 digs on defense in the tight five-set loss to West Virginia (9/14). She also had three service aces in that match.
A native of the Czech Republic, Strakova leads the nation in points averaging 6.18 per set after her three double-doubles this past weekend in the Morehead state Eagle Challenge. The reigning MEAC Player of the Week is also fifth in kills with a conference- best 5.11 per set
Rounding out the team are middle blocker Marija Kocevska and setter Bibiany Fonseca. Kosevska is 39th in the nation with 0.47 service ace per set, a mark that ranks her third in the MEAC.senior
Fonseca is 94th in the nation in assists, averaging a MEAC-best 10.06 per set.
Herrera for the Kill
Only one tournament away from 2013 Conference play, Xitlali Herrera has already established herself not only as a leader on the team but also in Conference USA. She ranks among the top players in two conference categories.
The senior hammered out 44 kills this past weekend ranking her fifth in both points and kills per set, averaging 4.46 points per set. The middle blocker has posted 122 kills this season. Herrera has also generated 77 digs and 24 (62/18a) blocks for the Miners this season.
The veteran wrapped up the 2012 season ranking in four categories in C-USA: hitting percentage (.301, 6th), points per set (10th), blocks (109, 13th) and kills (333, 13th). The standout led the team in hitting percentage (.300), rated second on the team in kills (333), digs (290), blocks (101) and aces (20). She helped the Miners rank first in the league and 70th nationally in hitting efficiency (.236).
Strong Home Stand
After a weekend on the road the Miners will return home to cohost the UTEP/NMSU Invitational before going on the road for their first two Conference USA matches against Louisiana Tech and Tulane. The Orange and Blue is currently 2-1 at home.
In 2011, the Miners held a 10-4 record at home including a 3-0 win over southern. In 2012 UTEP finished at a 8-4 record. The Miners have an overall record of 75-48 in Memorial Gym and will work hard to continue their success at home.
Adding to the Miners success this past weekend at the art Carmichael Invitational was duo Xitlali Herrera and Malia Patterson, as each was selected to the all-Tournament team.
This is the third all-Tournament honor for Herrera the 2013 season, having also made the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational all-Tournament and UTEP Invitational all- Tournament teams. The middle blocker was also selected to the 2013 Conference USA Preseason Volleyball team.
The senior led the UTEP offensive attack with 44 kills with only 11 errors in the Miners’ three matches against Hartford, Rhode Island and UMass-Lowell. Herrera also secured 31 digs and 8 blocks over the weekend.
Patterson set up the Miners up for success as she led the team with 93 assists at the art Carmichael Invitational. The senior also delivered 26 digs and 4 kills.
Stepping Up to the Net
Junior Taylor nix and sophomore Talia Jones both add depth to the Orange and Blue as they put up stats for the Miners.
Jones is second in team kills as she has registered 87 kills since the start of the season including 26 kills at the art Carmichael Invitational.
The sophomore also excels in service aces as she ranks 20th in conference, earning her first Conference USA ranking. Jones has delivered 7 aces averaging 0.28 aces per set.
Third on the team in kills, nix has posted 68 kills this season including her season high 13 kills against Hartford at the art Carmichael Invitational.
Victoria Delivers Defense
Veteran Victoria Valencia leads the Miner defense with 113 digs in their first three tournaments. This past weekend the El Paso native delivered 23 digs and an ace.
The senior registered a career-high 22 digs against Oral Roberts (9/6) and chipped in three assists and an ace. Valencia is ranked 13th in Conference USA, averaging 3.70 digs per set.
In 2012, Valencia posted 377 digs in 29 matches for the Miners ranking her 12th overall in Conference USA.
Standout Xitlali Herrera’s all-around performance has not only garnered her among the best in Conference USA, but among the best in the nation.
The veteran is ranked 30th in the nation in kills. Herrera has posted 122 kills this season, averaging 4.17 kills per set. The senior is also ranked 29th in the nation in points per match. Herrera averages 4.76 points per set.
Last season, Herrera joined former UTEP outside hitter, Michelle Stovall (1983 and 1984) as one of only two Miners in the program’s history to earn a spot on the AVCA All-American honorable Mention team.
The middle blocker also became the second Miner to earn back-to-back all-C-USA First- Team honors and be named to the ACVA all- Midwest Region First Team.
Newcomer Making Stats
In her first season with the Miners, transfer Dayana Acevedo is becoming a player to watch as her attention grabbing performance ranks her among the best in the league.
The junior secured eight service aces for the Miners ranking her 13th in Conference USA. The defensive specialist has also delivered 76 digs for the Orange and Blue.
Acevedo was a dominant backcourt player for Iowa Western as she earned multiple honors with the Reivers including: two-time NJCAA Division I All-American first team, two-time AVCA All-American first team, two- time all-Region first team and a two-time academic all-Region first team recipient.
Setting Up for Success
In 2012, senior Malia Patterson totaled 1,177 assists for the Miners, and in UTEP’s non- conference season she has proved that she will continue to dominate the court in 2013.
The senior has registered a total 281 assists in 2013, including a season high of 55 assists against Oral Roberts (9/6).
This past week, Patterson secured 93 assists in the art Carmichael Invitational. The setter’s stellar performance ranked her 11th in conference for assists (8.72 per set).
Patterson dominated the court in the Miners’ first match against Hartford, where she led the game with 31 assists.
The veteran finished out the tournament strong registering her first double-double of the season with 28 kills and 10 digs against Rhode Island. Patterson added 34 more assists against UMass-Lowell.
The 2013 season will be one for the seniors as four veterans return for their final season with the Miners. Jacqueline Cason, Malia Patterson and Victoria Valencia will join All- American Herrera in leading UTEP on the court.
Last year, Cason ranked third on the team with 224 kills (2.06 kills per set), while her hitting percentage (.250) ranked 15th in the conference. The senior opened the 2012 season with a 13-kill performance versus Fresno state (8/24). Cason had her best overall performance in a win over Belmont (8/31), as she produced 12 kills (zero errors), with three block assists and a hitting efficiency of .600.
Patterson led the Orange and Blue during the 2012 season in assists with 1,177. The senior ranked 57th nationally and second in the league in assists per set (10.80). Patterson registered 10 double-doubles, including 52 assists and 15 digs in a win over Tulsa (11/4) and tallied a season-high 56 assists during a victory over I-10 rival NM state (9/26).
Valencia led the Miners in digs (377) and service aces (26), as she ranked 12th in the league in both categories. The senior set a career-high of 22 digs versus Arizona State last year.
Veteran Herrera registered 10 double- doubles last season for UTEP, including an impressive 17 kills and 15 digs versus Tulsa (10/12) where she led the squad’s defense and offense. The middle blocker has earned three spots in the UTEP record book for hitting percentage in three sets (.647-4th), hitting percentage in four sets (.556-3rd) and (.542-4th).
In the 2012 campaign Herrera was named C-USA Defensive and Offensive Player of the Week and received C-USA all-academic honors. The senior concluded the season, as she became the second Miner in program history to earn back-to-back all-C-USA First Team honors and be named to the all- Region Team.