Nov. 9, 2008
EL PASO, Texas - The UTEP volleyball team used a season-high hitting performance to sweep SMU 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-18) on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gym.
"We played a balanced offense today," head coach Ken Murphy said. "Everybody contributed and that had a lot to do with (setter) Patty (Jarmoc) playing well and distributing the ball evenly to our hitters.
"Our hitters executed well and our defense was good. Catherine (Chavez) and Amy (Sanders) stepped up their defense and at some point we had SMU figured out."
The Miners began the match with a 9-4 lead over the Mustangs in the first set. SMU fought back and came within two points midway through the set at 16-14, but a kill by senior Casey McAnelly denied the Mustangs from knotting up the set. The Miners outhit SMU .229 to .088 for a 1-0 lead.
UTEP began the second set in the same manner it had the first set taking a 9-5 lead over the Mustangs. SMU went on a five-point run to take their first of two leads of the set at 10-9. El Paso native Irma Blanco tied the set for the Miners with a kill before the Mustangs took their second and final lead of the game at 11-10. UTEP senior Daidre Mendenhall's kill tied the game at 11 and a Mustang attack error gave UTEP the lead and the Miners never looked back. UTEP outhit the Mustangs once again .314 to .159.
The Miners carried over the intensity and momentum from the first two sets to sweep the Mustangs with a 25-18 win in set number three. UTEP hitters combined for a .333 hitting percentage led by junior Amy Sanders' five kills and .417 hitting percentage. SMU's only lead was the set's opening point as the Miners went up 3-2 and never gave up the lead.
Junior outside hitter Catherine Chavez returned to full force on Sunday after struggling to regain full strength due to an injury suffered earlier in the season. Chavez tallied a match-high 20 digs and added seven kills for a .545 hitting percentage.
"Having Cat (Chavez) on the lineup gave us a little more defense and ball control and allowed our other hitters to relax. She created important plays when the game was close. Casey (McAnelly) also had a great match, she was consistent and that gave us big kills during the match."
Sanders finished the day with 11 kills, nine digs and three blocks. The Burges alum, currently fifth all-time in UTEP history in career kills, needs two more kills to tie Stacy Zimmerman's 1,047 career kills.
Mendenhall added eight kills (.333 hitting percentage) and three blocks.
UTEP will play its final match at home on Friday, Nov. 14, against Tulane at Memorial Gym. That match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start. The Miners will end the regular season at Tulane on Sunday at 1 p.m. (MT).