Game Notes The UTEP volleyball team will be participating in the Razorback Invitational this weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. The Miners will open the tournament with Louisiana-Monroe at 3:30 p.m. (MT) on Friday and go up against Houston Baptist at 12:30 p.m., followed by host Arkansas at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
UTEP went 2-1 this past weekend, defeating Belmont and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Miners were led by Jeane Horton and Jacqueline Cason, who both earned spots in the UTSA Classic All-Tournament team. Horton hammered 34 kills and posted a .341 hitting percentage. Cason tallied 21 kills and a .391 hitting efficiency. Xitlali Herrera helped lead the Miners' attack, posting 13 kills and hitting .571 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (9/3).
Louisiana Monroe Scouting Report
Series: UTEP is undefeated against the Warhawks, winning all four matchups. The last game in 2007 resulted in a 3-0 win for the Miners. That game saw the Miners rack up 14 aces and 34 digs while recording a hitting efficiency of .295 in their victory.
Leading the Sun Belt Conference in digs is Marcela Araya with 116. The sophomore recorded a total of 351 digs in the 2011 campaign.
Houston Baptist Scouting Report
Series: The Miners have control of the short series, leading 2-0. The last meeting between the two squads was in 1988, which was a 3-0 victory for the Miners.
The Huskies were predicted to finish second in the Great West Conference. Houston Baptist senior setter Victoria Weatherly started all 31 games last season and finished third in the conference after averaging 9.42 assists per set. Weatherly also had two 50-plus assist games last season. She leads the team with 296 assists and 12 block assists in 2012.
Arkansas Scouting Report
Series: This will be the first time the Miners face off against the Razorbacks.
Arkansas, predicted to finish third in the West Division of the SEC, is led by senior and 2011 SEC first-team honoree Jazmine Norton. Norton leads the Razorbacks with 115 kills and 13 block assists.
Miners in the Rankings
The Miners are currently ranked second in Conference USA in hitting percentage (.229), third in blocks per set (2.17), fourth in kills per set (12.87) and fifth in assists per set (11.96). The squad has compiled an impressive 296 kills, 275 assists, 50 blocks (11s/78a) and 27 aces.
Horton for the Kill
For the second straight week, Jeane Horton was selected to an All-Tournament team. The outside hitter posted 34 kills, while hitting .341 to help the Miners earn their first victory and secure a spot in the UTSA Classic All-Tournament team. Previously the junior recorded a .567 hitting efficiency against Fresno State (8/24), setting the school standard in hitting percentage in five sets. The effort garnered her a place in the El Paso Sports Commission Invitational All-Tournament team.
Jeane Horton is off to a great start in 2012. The junior has registered double-digit kills in five of the six matches, including a season-best 21 versus Arizona State (8/25). The outside hitter is the only player in Conference USA to be ranked in the top five for both hitting percentage (.380-3rd) and kills per set (4.09-3rd).
Cant' Get Through Here
UTEP's frontcourt is dominating defensively through six matches in 2012. The squad checks in third in blocks per set in Conference USA (2.17). In fact, the Miners are the only school in the league to place two players in the top 10 of the category. Senior Cassandra Burruel is ranked fourth in the league averaging 1.09 blocks per set, while Xitlali Herrera is tied for seventh at 0.91. The Orange and Blue are known for defensive prowess. Since Ken Murphy's arrival, the Miners have averaged 2.26 blocks per frame compared with 1.9 in the five years prior. Additionally, UTEP has strung together three straight top-80 finishes nationally.
Xitlali Herrera earned a spot in the 2012 Pre-Season Volleyball All-Conference USA team after a stellar season in 2011. Herrera became the fourth Miner in program history to be selected to the All-Conference first team with an impressive 384 kills, 121 block assists and a .321 hitting efficiency. In 2012, the junior is second on the squad in kills (59), digs (49) and blocks (21).
Setting the Court Straight
Junior Malia Patterson saw significant action a season ago, earning a spot in the UTEP recordbook with 1,230 season total assists. The setter has continued to earn playing time in 2012. The junior ranks third in the league averaging 10.35 assists per set. Patterson season best has been 47 assists, achieved against both Fresno State (8/24) and UTSA (9/1).
Valencia Digs it
Victoria Valencia led the Miners' defense as she took the court for the first time as the libero. Previously the defensive specialist, The junior registered a career-high 22 digs against Arizona State (8/25) and chipped in an ace. Valencia is ranked fourth in C-USA in digs per set (4.00). The libero leads the team and ties for 10th in aces per set (0.30).
Cason Cruising Along
Jacqueline Cason is making a name for herself in 2012. The junior had a stellar match against Belmont (8/31) hammering 12 kills on 20 attempts for a readout of .600. Overall, the outside hitter is ranked second on the team in hitting percentage (.312) while placing third in kills (58) and blocks (19). Cason is tied for 11th for hitting percentage in C-USA.
Return of Conference Tournament
After a two-year hiatus, the Conference USA Championship makes a return appearance. Tulsa will serve as host of the tournament on Nov. 16-18 at the Reynolds Center. This season the Miners will play four tournaments and 16 conference matches. The top teams will square off in the Conference USA tournament for a chance to become the C-USA Champions.
The Last Meeting
August 31, 2007