EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The UTEP volleyball team defeated the University of North Texas via sweep, 3-0, Saturday.
UTEP’s senior middle blocker, Kenidy Howard, led the team with 10 kills. Sophomore setter, Hande Yetis, tallied 21 assists while senior Kristen Fritsche achieved 16. Alyssa Sianez recorded 17 digs for the UTEP squad. UTEP racked up three service aces by Ryley Frye (two) and Ema Uskokovic (one).
The Miners totaled three blocks against UNT and hit .371.
“We all expected the match to go into five sets and I knew we were going to score, but I was worried about stopping them (North Texas),” head coach Ben Wallis said. “My team did a really good job at executing today. We worked hard all week at trying to have multiple ways to bother them and get them out of rhythm. When they’re in rhythm, they’re going to score making them difficult to deal with.
“Ema (Uskokovic) had to play in Serena’s (Patterson) role, who is our top point scorer,” Wallis said. “As a freshman, she had to walk into that role, play six rotations for the first time all year and be able to do that against a really good team. I’m very proud of her and she was able to do that because of her teammates next to her, Paulina and Alyssa helped her out – gave her small seams and just kept her in it and talked her through it.”
SET ONE, UTEP 25-UNT 17:
The first set started off with a back-and-forth exchange of points that consisted of five tied scores. A kill by Ema Uskokovic secured the lead for the Miners and a 7-1 scoring run would follow. As UTEP was just two points away from taking the set, Ryley Frye came in to serve up back-to-back aces, winning the set.
SET TWO, UTEP 25-UNT 20:
UTEP kicked off the second set with a 3-0 scoring run and kept the lead throughout the set, giving no opportunities for North Texas to tie up the scores or take the lead. UNT attempted to rally, but were no match for the Miners’ dynamic offense that landed the squad with a 2-0 advantage in the match.
SET THREE, UTEP 25-UNT 22:
North Texas took a quick lead in the third set, looking to avoid a sweep. Both teams turned up the firepower and took turns going on multiple scoring runs. After eight tied scores and four lead changes, UNT tied up the score, 18-18. UTEP took the fifth and final lead change and as the teams continued to trade points, the Miners pulled off a sweep over UNT.
“The balance from our team is what I’ve been trying to preach to them all season and that’s why we swept them and that’s why we get the win today, and we give ourselves the chance to win tomorrow. I do think we can play better, but overall I’m really proud of my team, there was a really great team effort there. I’m not surprised, I’m just proud, honestly, that we were able to sweep North Texas.”Ben Wallis, UTEP volleyball head coach