UTEP Blows Past USM, 3-1

X. Herrera

Sept. 23, 2012

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El Paso, Texas - The UTEP volleyball team defeated Southern Miss, 3-1 (25-14, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15) earning their first Conference USA home victory of the season at Memorial Gym.

"I like the way our team improved this week," said head coach Ken Murphy. "We put a lot of focus on controlling a match on our side of the net and that's what we did today. Our offense was really efficient and I think it stemmed from the way we palyed together and our determination to control points."

Jeane Horton hammered a match-high 21 kills with only two errors and added seven block assists leading the Miners past the Golden Eagles. The outside hitter registered a .633 hitting percentage earning the No. 2 spot in the UTEP recordbook for hitting efficiency in four sets. 

Teammate Xitlali Herrera also had a stellar showing posting a double-double with 16 kills, 13 digs and tallied six block assists.  The junior recorded the fourth highest hitting efficiency in four sets with a .542 average.

Setter Malia Patterson put up a match-high 54 assists, nine digs and four block assists, while Cassandra Burruel posted 10 blocks (1s/9a) and hit a .415 in the matchup.

UTEP registered 61 kills, 58 assists, 51 digs, 16 team blocks (1s/30a) and recorded a .336 hitting percentage against Southern Miss. The squad improved to 7-7 overall and 2-1 in C-USA. 

The Miners raced out to a 6-1 run in the first set led by a kill by Bridget Logan, a pair of kills by Herrera, an ace by Ashley Peak and two consecutive Golden Eagle attack errors. UTEP would strike again with three straight points forcing USM to take another time at 16-10. Southern Miss was unable to recover as the Miners went on another 6-1 run led by Horton who hammered three attacks. Jacqueline Cason sealed the set for UTEP with a kill, 25-14.

Both teams battled for control in the start of the second set, but UTEP struck together a pair of kills and a block assist to take the advantage, 11-10. Southern Miss would not back down taking a two-point lead at 18-16 forcing the Miners to call a timeout. UTEP was not capable of recovering from the deficit and dropped the frame, 25-21.

UTEP took an early 5-2 lead in the third set off of two Golden Eagles errors, a pair of kills by Horton and a kill by Taylor Nix. USM fought back and tied the set, 10-10, but the Miners would not let go of the advantage and registered a 3-1 run off of an attack error by Halie Ecker. Juniors Horton and Cason struck back-to-back kills to close the set, 25-20. 

The Miners dominated the fourth frame led by Horton, who hammered nine kills and recorded a .667 hitting percentage.  UTEP posted two consecutive block assists to lead by as much as four at the start of the set forcing Southern Miss to take a timeout. The Miners then strung together a 4-1 run with two kills by Horton, a block assist by Burruel and Cason and a USM attack error. The Miners attack was unstoppable as Burruel posted three straight kills to extend the lead 18-9. UTEP controlled the remainder of the set and Horton would strike again to give the team the victory, 25-15. 

The Miners will take the court again to take on I-10 rival NM State at home at 7 p.m. (MT) on Wednesday. 



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