UTEP Volleyball Opens 2012 Season Friday at Memorial Gym

UTEP Volleyball Opens 2012 Season Friday at Memorial Gym
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 1:15pm

The UTEP volleyball team opens the 2012 campaign at home as host of the El Paso Sports Commission Invitational at Memorial Gym Friday and Saturday.

The Miners will kick-off the season against Fresno State on Friday at 7 p.m. (MT). On Saturday the squad will take on Idaho State at 1 p.m. before concluding the tournament versus Arizona State at 7:30 p.m.

UTEP welcomes fans to come out and support the team as it opens the season this weekend. All campers get in free by wearing their camper t-shirt to the match.

Return of Tournament
In 2011, the Miners served as host of the first El Paso Sports Commission Invitational. The squad opened the season 4-0 defeating Southern, Portland State, Nicholls State and UT-Arlington. UTEP was named the El Paso Sports Commission Invitational Champions and Jeane Horton, Xitlali Herrera and Stephanie Figueroa all earned a spot on the All-Tournament team.

Fresno State Scouting Report
Series: Fresno State holds the advantage, 16-2. The last meeting was in 2004 when UTEP won in three straight sets. In that match the Miners registered 49 kills, 12 block assists and hit a .270 to defeat the Bulldogs.

Bulldog Notables
Fresno State was selected to finish fourth in its first season in the Mountain West Conference. The Bulldogs are led by Korrin Wild, who played the first 11 matches as libero before moving to outside hitter. Wild posted 275 kills and 2.55 kills per set during the 2011 campaign.

Idaho State Scouting Report
Series: UTEP leads the series 3-2 going back to 1979. In the last meeting the Miners posted 45 kills, 37 assists and 37 digs defeating Idaho State in three sets.

Bengals Notables
Breanne Van Every led the Bengals with 373 kills, 419.5 points and averaged 3.39 kills per set in 2011. Also returning to the squad is Kylee Searle, who broke the single-season and single game dig records last year with 512 and 40 digs, respectively.

Arizona State Scouting Report
Series: The Sun Devils lead the series 7-0 going back to 1976. The last meeting was in 2009.

Sun Devil Notables
ASU returns eight starters and 12 letterwinners from last year’s squad. Joining the team this season are four freshmen that were ranked the 21st-best recruiting class in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com. Middle blocker Erica Wilson paced the squad with 85 total blocks and 80 assists registered in 2011.

Stronger Than Ever
Under the direction of Ken Murphy the Miners concluded their 2011 campaign with 19 wins. The program hadn’t seen this type of success since 2005 when they were 21-10 under former head coach Scott Swanson. The squad compiled an impressive 1,572 kills, 1,456 assists and 1,822 digs. The Miners left their mark in the UTEP recordbooks, ranking fourth in season block assists (442) and placing second in block assists in three sets (20).

Junior Standouts Return to Lead the Way
Xitlali Herrera and Jeane Horton are back to lead the Miners frountcourt in 2012. Last year the duo combined for 764 kills and 206 blocks. Herrera became the fourth Miner in program history to be selected to the All-Conference first team with an impressive 384 kills, 121 block assists and a .321 hitting efficiency. Herrera was also named an honorable mention of the AVCA Midwest All-Region Team. Horton became the first Miner to receive All-Conference USA second-team honors with a striking 380 kills and 74 blocks (17s/57a).

The X-Factor
Xitlali Herrera earned a spot in the 2012 Pre-Season Volleyball All-Conference USA team after a stellar season in 2011. UTEP has always been a force at the net, ranking in the top-80 nationally over the past three seasons. However, Herrera proved herself, ranking first on the team, sixth in Conference USA and 81st nationally in 2011. The junior is ranked third among UTEP’s single-season all-time block assists leaders with 121.

122 Cynthia Ruelas-Macias 1997
Cynthia Ruelas-Macias 1993
121 Xitlali Herrera 2011
111 Cynthia Ruelas-Macias 1996
109 Cynthia Ruelas-Macias 1994
103 Jacqui Nosan 2000

Cant’ Get Through Here
The UTEP frontcourt looks to dominate its defensive effort once again in 2012. The Miners ended 2011 with a top-80 national ranking for the third consecutive season. The squad averaged 2.28 blocks per set to check in fifth in Conference USA. Since Ken Murphy’s arrival, the Miners have averaged 2.26 blocks per frame compared with 1.9 in the five years prior. In fact, before Murphy, UTEP averaged 2.0 blocks per set or better just in just two (2005, 2003) of the five seasons prior to 2006.

Horton Still Shines
Last season, Jeane Horton moved to outside hitter for the Miners and put up a total of 380 kills to rank second on the team. The junior averaged 3.19 kills per set last year and ranked 10th in C-USA in kills. In 2011, Horton hammered 20 or more kills in three contest with and posted a career-high 25 kills against Houston (10/30).

Setting the Court Straight
Junior Malia Patterson saw significant action a season ago, earning a spot in the UTEP recordbook with 1,230 season total assists. Patterson recorded 12 double-doubles during the 2011 campaign and posted a career-high 63 assists against Houston (10/30). The Hawaiian native ranked first on the squad and sixth in conference averaging 10.34 assists per set in 2011.

Season Total Assists
1,356 Katie Smith 2006
1,282 Chris Brandl 1991
1,230 Malia Patterson 2011
1,145 Veronica Acosta 1997
1,112 Patty Jarmoc 2008
1,111 Krista Gronert 1999

Return of Conference Tournament
After a two-year hiatus, the Conference USA Championship makes a return appearance. Tulsa will serve as host of the tournament on Nov. 16-18 at the Reynolds Center. This season the Miners will play four tournaments and 16 conference matches. The top teams will square off in the Conference USA tournament for a chance to become the C-USA Champions.

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