UTEP volleyball drops heartbreaker at home
El Paso, TX — The UTEP volleyball team bolted out to a 2-0 set lead only to have visiting Tulsa claim the final three sets to post a 3-2 triumph at Memorial Gym on Friday. The Miners (13-13, 6-7 C-USA) won the first (25-21) and second set (28-26) but the Golden Hurricane (23-5, 12-1 C-USA) managed to take the third (25-18), fourth (25-18) and fifth sets (17-15).
Senior Xitlali Herrera posted a double-double with 27 kills and 12 digs, while Malia Patterson, also posting a double double secured 48 assists and 18 digs. Talia Jones aided the offense as she hammered out 17 kills and only four errors. Libero Victoria Valencia delivered her third game of the season with 20 or more digs as she captured 28.
The squads fought point for point in the first set before UTEP ripped control by tallying three straight points. The Miners capped the stretch with a second 3-0 run setting the score, 18-14. The Golden Hurricane trimmed the deficit to zero as the teams tied at 21, but a kill by Patterson sparked a 4-0 run allowing the Miners to clinch the first set.
The momentum continued as the squads exchanged points but with the score tied at 26 two consecutive kills by Patterson and Jones captured the second set for the Orange and Blue.
Tulsa started strong in the third set, building a 15-7 lead. The Golden Hurricane would maintain its leads as it pounded a .390 hitting percentage while holding UTEP to a .103.
Much like the third set the Miners were unable to match Tulsa’s momentum as nine UTEP errors gave the fourth set to the Golden Hurricane tying the game, 2-2.
Once again the squads went back and forth tying the score 11 times in the final set. A kill by Herrera tied the score at 15. Tulsa responded with a kill from Valerie El Houssine but ultimately it was a UTEP error that would give the match to the Golden Hurricane.
UTEP will look to bounce back when it plays host to East Carolina in its last match of the regular season at 12 p.m. on Sunday.