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UTEP Volleyball Heads East

UTEP Volleyball Heads East
Sports
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 9:53pm

The UTEP volleyball team will close its regular season this weekend as it challenges East Carolina at 5 p.m. (MT) on Friday and Marshall at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The Miners (15-11, 9-5 C-USA), will be hitting the road for their final two matches before competing in the 2012 Conference USA Tournament set to begin in Tulsa, Okla. on Nov. 16.

The Miners earned a bid to the C-USA tournament after defeating No. 1 Tulsa, 3-2 last weekend. Jeane Horton concluded the weekend’s action with a total of 34 kills and 11 blocks (1s/10a). Setter Malia Patterson tallied 99 assists and 20 digs helping UTEP earn its third straight victory. Senior Cassandra Burruel posted 17 total blocks, including a season-high 11 versus the Golden Hurricane as the Miners out blocked Tulsa 17 to eight. UTEP concluded its conference home schedule with a 7-1 record.

ECU Scouting Report
Series: The Miners hold an 8-3 edge over the Pirates since their first meeting in 2005. The last time the teams met, UTEP defeated the Pirates, 3-0. In that meeting, the Miners dominated offensively, posting 46 kills to ECU’s 29. Jeane Horton finished the night with a match-high 13 kills, in addition to three blocks. Xitlali Herrera also had a stellar performance with 11 kills, five digs and two service aces. Malia Patterson wrapped up the night recording 39 assists and two service aces.

Pirate Notables
Leading the defensive effort for ECU is Kelly Derby, who has helped protect the net for the Pirates by tallying 88 blocks (17s/71a). The senior is ranked eighth overall in the league for blocks per set (0.97) and has helped ECU secure the No. 7 spot in the category with a 2.44 average. Derby can also post some kills, having already hammered 166 kills and recorded a .218 hitting percentage this season. Shelby Beasley has protected the back court for the Pirates, racking up 404 digs. The junior checks in at the No. 5 spot in the C-USA performance list for digs per set (4.44).

Marshall Scouting Report
Series: Marshall comes into the weekend with a 6-5 advantage against the Miners. The last time the squads met, Xitlali Herrera and Jeane Horton combined for 31 kills and led a UTEP attack that hit .368 en route to a 3-0 victory over the Herd. Herrera hit a team-best .542 and Horton hit .368 as a powerful offensive attack led UTEP past the Herd. Malia Patterson registered a double-double, tallying a match-high 41 assists and 10 digs.

The Herd Notables
Marshall is led by top ranked Laura Der, who has already registered 423 kills, 305 digs and 32 service aces. The junior is ranked in C-USA in two categories, kills per set (4.23-2nd) and aces per set (0.32-5th). Sophomore Sammie Bane has also helped, Marshall, tallying 1133 assists and 237 digs this season. Bane checks in at No. 3 in the leagues performance list for assists per set (10.49) and has helped the Herd earn the No. 4 spot in the category.

Miners in the Rankings
The Miners are among the best in Conference USA statistically, placing first in hitting percentage (.239), while ranking second in blocks per set (2.44), third in assists per set (12.16) and kills per set (13.21) and eighth in service aces (1.02). The squad has collected an impressive 1308 kills, 1204 assists, 242 blocks (51s/382a) and 101 aces.

Nationally, UTEP is ranked in the top 60 in two categories; hitting percentage (56th), and blocks per set (60th).

Better Late Than Never
UTEP stumbled out of the gates at home (0-3) but has finished very strong. The Miners went down the stretch 8-1, 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 also defeated Southern Miss (9/23), UAB (9/28), Memphis (9/30), Houston (10/19), Tulane (10/28), SMU (11/2) and Tulsa (11/4). In those seven victories, UTEP had a 24-9 set advantage.

Horton’s Stellar Season
Jeane Horton has made major improvements after changing positions during her 2011 campaign. The junior has already surpassed her season total from 2011, tallying 418 kills this season for the Miners. The outside hitter continues to impress and has also earned the No. 2 spot in the UTEP recordbook for total kills registered in a single season. The junior has recorded double-digit kill showings in 25 out of the 26 matches this season for the Miners.

The outside hitter is one of three Conference USA players ranked in the top 35 in the nation for kills per set. The junior is 34th in the nation averaging 4.22 kills per set. The Fresno, Calif., native is one of the two players to rank in the top 10 in conference in hitting percentage (.295-10th) and kills per set (3rd).

Horton led the Miners attack versus Tulsa (11/4) posting her fifth 20 or more kill performance with 22. She also helped UTEP register an outstanding 17 total team blocks with a career-high nine (1s/9a) against the Golden Hurricane.

Double-Double Machine
Malia Patterson is setting her own mark on the court having already tallied 10 double-doubles this season. Most recently, the junior registered 52 assists and 15 digs and added five block assists versus Tulsa (11/4). The setter continues to maintain the No. 2 spot in the conference rankings and has secured the No. 53rd spot nationally for assists per set (10.70). The setter has recorded 31 or more assists in 25 out of 26 matches thus far. She has helped the squad post a .239 hitting percentage, leads the conference and ranks 56th nationally.

The junior has tallied 13 service aces surpassing her mark from last season when she posted five. Patterson can also protect the net, as she adds 45 block assists, breaking her 2011 season record of 30. The setter just passed the 200 dig barrier (231).

The X-Factor
Xitlali Herrera is an all-around player, as she is one of two Conference USA middle blockers that plays all-six rotations. The junior holds top rankings in three categories in Conference USA only matches. The junior checks in fourth in hitting percentage (.329), ninth in blocks (1.02) and kills (3.22). The middle blocker had a remarkable weekend, hammering 18 kills with only three errors versus SMU (11/2). Herrera also hit .556 earning the No. 3 spot in the UTEP recordbook for hitting percentage in four sets. The Mexican native leads the team in hitting percentage (.307).

She has contributed eight double-doubles this season for the Miners, most recently pounding 11 kills and 16 digs versus Tulsa (11/4). Herrera also earned her career-high dig total in a match with 19 against Rice (10/21). Herrera ranks second on the team in four categories; kills (306), blocks 95 (13s/82a), digs (258) and service aces (18).

Burruel for the Block
Cassandra Burruel is on a tear in 2012. The senior has crushed her 2011 block total (24) by registering 124 thus far. The senior has earned multiple spots in the school recordbook, including the school record for block assists in five sets with 11 posted against Tulsa (11/4). She also currently sits at the No. 4 spot for season block assists (109), teammate Xitlali Herrera is second in the category with 121 registered last season.

The senior checks in at No. 2 in Conference USA in blocks per set 1.25. The middle blocker has posted four double-digit block efforts this season with 10 against Tulane (10/28), Fresno State (8/24) and Southern Miss (9/23) and a career-high 11 versus the Golden Hurricane. Burruel has tallied a total of 157 kills and registered a .244 hitting percentage this season.

Miners Leaving Their Mark
Xitlali Herrera, Jeane Horton and Cassandra Burruel have dented the UTEP recordbook this season.

Herrera continues to leave her mark in the school annals. The middle blocker checks in third in the UTEP recordbook in hitting efficiency in four sets with a .556 registered versus SMU (11/2). The junior hammered a match-high 18 kills with only three errors on 38 attempts against the Mustangs. She also earned the fourth all-time spot earlier this year in the school annals for 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.

Burruel also has secured a spot in the school recordbook this season. She sits in the No. 2 for block assists in four sets with nine recorded against Southern Miss (9/23).

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).

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