UTEP Volleyball Looks For Second Tournament Title
After starting the 2005 season with a tournament title and a 4-0 record, the Miners have momentum heading into this weekend’s Titan Classic in Fullerton, Calif. UTEP will face Marist, Missouri-Kansas City and host Cal State Fullerton in the tournament.
“We are looking forward to playing this group of teams,” said head coach Scott Swanson. “We will be more challenged than last week, especially by Cal State Fullerton which comes from a great conference in the Big West.”
Peugh and Williams, both middle blockers, combined for 43 kills, eight aces, 12 digs and 17 blocks while Brittany Stowers raked in 69 digs at the libero position at the Middle Tennessee Invitational over the weekend.
Peugh leads the Miners in hitting percentage at .400, piling up 27 kills while committing just five errors in 55 attempts. She led UTEP in kills against Tennessee State putting down 13 in her collegiate debut. So far, she has hit over .400 twice (Tennessee State, .417 and Middle Tennessee, .421) and led UTEP in attack percentage three times including .333 against Alabama A&M.
Averaging 1.71 blocks per game, Williams has compiled a team-high 12 blocks. The 5-10 Houston native led the team in blocks three times over the weekend, including a match-high five against Western Carolina. She hit a team-best nine kills against the Catamounts while earning 13 points for the Miners.
After suffering a knee injury six matches into the 2004 season, Stowers has returned to the libero position. She registered a season-high 23 digs against Middle Tennessee, boosting her digs-per-game average to 5.31 while adding six aces.
“This goes to show how young and exciting we are,” Swanson said. “I feel if we play well and we step up, we can win.”
Cal State Fullerton dropped its season opener to Hofstra, 3-1, last Friday. The Titans, who ended their 2004 campaign 14-14 and 6-12 in the Big West, look to senior outside hitter Sarah Morrison to lead them to a championship title. Morrison recorded 19 kills against Hofstra. Last season she totaled 217 kills, 17 digs and 27 blocks.
Marist opened the 2005 season over the weekend with 3-0 losses to Buffalo and St. John’s. The Red Foxes were led by junior middle blocker Sally Hanson, who was named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference offensive player of the week after posting 1.33 blocks per game while hitting .370 for the week. The MAAC runner-up last season, Marist closed 2004 with a 12-16 mark. The Red Foxes return 10 letterwinners from last year’s squad, while adding three freshmen.
Missouri-Kansas City is coming off two losses to Alabama and Kansas. The Kangaroos return Vanessa Protela, Angela Melka and Lauren Starks, their top three attackers last season. Together they totaled 968 kills. UMKC finished 7-21, 4-10 in the Mid-Continent Conference and is picked to finish fifth in its conference.