EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — We are witnessing a culture change within the UTEP women’s volleyball program, a program that hasn’t seen much success over the past decade. However, under second year head coach Ben Wallis, the narrative surrounding this team is changing even faster than expected.
The Miners (9-6, 8-4 C-USA) enter the Conference USA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the West Division and have won four straight matches, including 12 consecutive sets. UTEP will open the tournament on Thursday against Marshall (10-4, 8-4 C-USA), the No. 3 seed out of the East Division.
“Things get tougher on you in the conference tournament because there is no [guaranteed] tomorrow,” said Wallis. “That’s where you hope your culture, your leadership and your team’s dynamic — playing hard for each other — is going to help get you to the next game.”
UTEP will finish the season with a winning record for the first time since 2012, but their goal from the beginning of the season has been to make a run in the conference tournament, something that hasn’t been done in a long time. A win on Thursday would represent the program’s first postseason win since 2008.
“We are in it, we’re number two and that’s great,” said UTEP senior outside hitter Cheyenne Jones. “I think it shows people that UTEP [volleyball] is a team you should care about. We are a good team and we are getting better.”
Thursday’s match against Marshall will be the 20th meeting with the Thundering Herd owning an 11-8 all-time series edge against the Miners. The match is scheduled to air on ESPN+ at 1 p.m. MT in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.