MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – UTEP Volleyball dropped its final road match of the season to Middle Tennessee, 3-1, Saturday afternoon inside Alumni Memorial Gym.
UTEP dropped to 17-8 overall and 9-5 in Conference USA play, while MTSU improved to 18-6 (9-3).
“We’re leaving Tennessee with a pretty sore ego after being pushed around for two days,” head Coach Ben Wallis said. “MTSU was well rested, well prepared, and very hungry to win. They never stopped coming at us for two days, and they deserved their two wins.”
Three Miners shredded double-digit kills as Torrance Lovesee led the team with 14 kills, with Alianza Darley and Sakira LaCour putting up 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Kalia Kohler paced the team with 23 assists, while Alyssa Sianez and Lovesee directed the defense with six digs each.
UTEP posted 49 kills while hitting .273. The Orange and Blue recorded four aces and three blocks.
SET ONE | MTSU continued to play with Friday’s momentum as the Blue Raiders forced two early UTEP timeouts as they led 14-5. UTEP’s Sakira LaCour put down three straight kills to shrink the deficit to 17-10. The teams went point-for-point within seven serves before MTSU closed the set win on a 5-1 run, 25-14.
SET TWO | The Blue Raiders kicked off the second set with four unanswered points and back-to-back aces by Adri Rhoda forced a UTEP timeout, 11-4. The Miners cut the deficit by two points after a 5-1 run, 20-18. UTEP knotted the set at 22 all and took over as set leader off a Lovesee kill. UTEP gave up one kill to the Raiders but wrapped up the set with a Kaya Weaver kill and MT error, 25-23.
SET THREE | Both teams went back and forth to open the third set before MTSU went up 8-4. Each side took turns posting back-to-back points, and as the Miners closed in on the Blue Raiders, 19-18, MT took a timeout, but UTEP tied the set coming out of the break, 19-19. UTEP took the lead off a service error by MT and an ace by Mattie Gantt, 23-22. MTSU responded with two points to regain the lead and UTEP was able to tie the set at 24 and 25, but the Raiders cashed in two kills to win the set in extras, 27-25.
SET FOUR | UTEP won the opening point in the final set. Seven straight errors derived from both teams put the Blue Raider out in front 9-6, and three kills lifted the score to 10-7 before UTEP took its first timeout. The Miners came within one point on six occasions. MTSU secured the match win on a 3-0 run, 25-19.
Final Thoughts from Coach Wallis
“We’ve been dealing with a lot this season, and we didn’t have enough in the tank to get the wins here in Tennessee. Kudos to their group, as they really wanted to beat us both days and kept competing. I really thought Alianza (Darley) and Torrance (Lovesee) played very hard on Friday and Saturday and our poor setters had to run around with how uncharacteristically bad we passed it. We had better get over this fast because Chicago State is coming to town on Tuesday and they’re solid.”
UTEP will host Chicago State on Halloween at 6 pm MT inside Memorial Gym.