EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – As if the Battle of I-10 rivalry wasn’t intense enough, the rivalry got a bit more intense as both UTEP and New Mexico State are now competing in the same league: Conference USA.
The 2023-24 season marks the first time both universities are in the same conference since the early 1960s when both were part of the Border Conference, a conference that disbanded in 1962.
UTEP and New Mexico State’s volleyball teams will go head-to-head for the first time in their respective program’s history as CUSA foes in a two-game series this week.
UTEP, led by head coach Ben Wallis, head into the Battle of I-10 meeting with positive momentum. The Miners bounced back from a tough opening CUSA weekend at No. 25 Western Kentucky with a pair of sweep victories against Jax State at Memorial Gym over the weekend.
UTEP now sits with a 2-2 record in conference play and hold a 10-5 overall record so far this season.
New Mexico State, led by head coach Mike Jordan, is off to a hot start to its first season in CUSA. The Aggies are 4-0 in CUSA after it beat Middle Tennesse and Louisiana Tech twice each to begin conference play.
New Mexico State sits with an 11-4 overall record an 4-0 record in CUSA, tied with FIU who also has a 4-0 record in conference play at this point of the season.
“It’s going to be a rivalry game. It’s going to be something that we want to win just for bragging rights here in the region, but also we want to get up there and get conference wins and that’s a probably the most important part of it.” UTEP volleyball head coach Ben Wallis said.
“The last few times we played, we’ve split and have gone five [sets] every time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that again.” NM State volleyball head coach Mike Jordan said. “I think it’s two really good teams that are going to play each other. They [UTEP] are allowed to be good too. In my time here, we’ve dominated the series with UTEP and hopefully we can keep that going again.”
The last four times UTEP and New Mexico State have met on the volleyball court, the matches have been decided in five sets. UTEP and New Mexico State have split victories in the last four matches.
UTEP and New Mexico State will face off against each other in back-to-back days. The first match will be played on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. MT. The second match will be played on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. MT. Both matches will be played at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Both matches will be streamed live on ESPN+, and available to follow on StatBroadcast