Sept. 18, 2009
Box Score | Photo Gallery | Audio Photo Gallery by Ivan Pierre Aguirre
EL PASO - Despite a pair of double-double performances by seniors Amy Sanders and Catherine Chavez, the UTEP volleyball team fell to 7-4 and 0-1 in Conference USA play after losing to Tulane, 3-2.
"I was very proud of the way we played tonight," head coach Ken Murphy said. "We played hard and there were a lot of good things that we did to affect the match and the way Tulane was playing."
Sanders posted a season-high 21 kills and 11 digs while Chavez also tallied a season-high 17 kills adding 16 kills. Setter Patty Jarmoc also dished out a season-best 44 assists against the Green Wave in the team's league-opening match.
Unlike the last meeting where the Green Wave overpowered the Miners to claim the 2008 C-USA regular season title, UTEP opened the 2009 campaign matching the intensity and level of play of the defending league champions. The Miners used small rallies to gain up on Tulane through the opening half of the first set to take a 16-13 lead and force the Green Wave into a timeout. The visiting team sided out on the following serve and came within one point two more times before UTEP ran off with a 25-18 win to take the first.
The teams traded leads to begin the second frame as neither was able to take a comfortable advantage. Knotted up at nine, the teams would tie up the match six more times before UTEP appeared to run away with the second set at 21-19. The Green Wave climbed back to tie the set at 22. Tulane went to sophomore Visnja Djurdjevic for a kill to begin a battle between Djurdjevic and Sanders. UTEP responded with a Sanders blast to make things even at 23. Djurdjevic put Tulane on top once again, but a free ball over the net sent Sanders over the net to deny the ball for a UTEP point. The Green Wave had set point after another Djurdjevic kill and the teams headed to the locker rooms after Sanders was called for running into the net.
UTEP was able to contain Djurdjevic in the third set holding the outside hitter to just four kills compared to the eight she had downed in the second stanza. Tulane had a second weapon in junior Amaris Genemaras who hit a .556 clip to outdo the Miners 25-20 for a 2-1 lead.
With the crowd behind them, the home team refused to go down without a fight. After three long rallies to begin the fourth set, the Miners found themselves down 3-0. Tulane appeared to be on the verge of taking the match in four widening the lead by seven at 18-11, but UTEP would not go away. The Miners strengthened the defense at the net to go on a 8-2 run to come within one at 20-19. Tied at 23 after sideout exchanges, Jarmoc stuffed the ball right down the middle to give UTEP its first lead of the set. The Green wave would tie the set two more times before Sanders and Chavez put the visitors away on a pair of kills to force a fifth set.
Tied halfway through the final frame, the teams traded sides after a UTEP attack error gave Tulane an 8-7 lead. Tulane retained the lead through the set as the Miners could not come up with a win.
"It came down to finishing it up in the end," Murphy said of the way the match ended. "We were aggressive until the end. We committed errors,
but we were going after it and I was proud that it was what we did at the end that decided the match."
UTEP will close out the preseason at Tucson, Ariz., at the University of Arizona Invitational presented by Marriott on Saturday and Sunday with matches against the Wildcats and the University of New Mexico.