UTEP Volleyball Falls at Rice, 3-0
Oct. 16, 2011
HOUSTON, TEXAS - Despite a match-high 15 kills from Xitlali Herrera and 18 digs by Stephanie Figueroa, the UTEP volleyball team (15-4, 5-4) dropped a 3-0 decision (22-25, 23-25, 21-25) to Rice (11-9, 6-3) on Sunday.
“There were times in the match were we played good defense,” head coach Ken Murphy said. “Stephanie did a good job of stopping the ball and helping the team go on runs.”
Senior Marie-Therese Joyce posted six kills, 10 digs, five blocks (1s/4a) and one service ace.
“Rice played fast and efficient today,” Murphy said. “We weren’t able to put enough attack pressure on them.”
Paced by Jillian Humphrey’s team-high 11 kills, the Owls hammered 45 kills to UTEP’s 40. Mariah Riddlesprigger aided the attack, lacing 10 kills and adding 10 digs.
Rice jumped out to a 4-0 advantage early, but a pair of kills by Herrera put the Miners on the board 2-6. The Owls then went on a 5-2 run to make it 11-5. The Miners fought back to close the gap 11-16, but the Rice attack proved to be too much. The Owls went on to close the set out 25-23. Herrera led UTEP with seven kills, two assists and two service aces, while Malia Patterson contributed 11 assists.
Rice ran away with a 2-5 run to open the set. The Miners did not relent, as a trio of Owl errors and a block by Jeane Horton tied the set 6-6. UTEP chipped away at the Owls lead with a kill by Horton and a block by Joyce giving the Miners a 17-15 lead. Both teams battled for control, before UTEP ignited a three-point rally that put the Miners up 20-18. Back-to-back Owl errors gave UTEP its largest lead of the set, 23-20. But Rice would not go away easily, scoring the next five points to seal the set, 25-23.
Rice surged to a 3-0 lead to open the frame. The Miners chipped away at the deficit, embarking on a 3-1 run to come within one of the Owls at 3-4. A kill by Lizzy Bache put Rice up by two but UTEP’s Joyce ripped the ball to bring the Miners within three points at 6-9. The Owls ran off five-straight scores to take a commanding 14-6 lead midway through the set. UTEP countered with a 3-0 run and later put together four-point rally to trim the deficit to 16-13. A strike by UTEP’s Esther Warren and a block by Warren and Joyce made it a two-point game at 22-20. But a kill by Rice’s Jillian Humphrey ended the Miners comeback with a 25-21 win.
UTEP will return home to take on Southern Miss at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21 in Memorial Gym.