UTEP is Set to Open C-USA Slate

A. Peak

Sept. 11, 2012


The Last Meeting
October 23, 2011
New Orleans, La.
UTEP Volleyball Clips Tulane, 3-2
The UTEP volleyball team (16-8, 6-5) went down to the wire before pulling out a five-set victory over Tulane, defeating the Green Wave, 3-2.

The UTEP volleyball team will be taking on C-USA opponent Tulane at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the 2012 Kathy Trosclair Memorial at the Hertz Center in New Orleans, La. The Miners will continue play at the tournament going up against Baylor at 9 a.m., followed by Binghamton at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

UTEP went 2-1 this past weekend at the Razorback Invitational, defeating Louisiana-Monroe and Houston Baptist in three sets. The Miners were led by juniors Jeane Horton and Xitlali Herrera, who both earned spots in the Razorback Invitational All-Tournament team. Horton led the Miners' attack, posting 54 kills and hitting .315. Herrera was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week after compiling 53 kills, 37 digs, 14 blocks (1s/13a) and registering a .413 hitting percentage.

Tulane Scouting Report
Series: The Green Wave lead the series with a 35-14 advantage. Last season the Miners won their matchup 3-2 after scoring five straight points in the last game. The Miners held the Green Wave to a .268 hitting percentage while posting a.315 hitting efficiency.

Green Wave Notables
Tulane is led by Cori Martone, who was named to the preseason All-Conference USA team. The junior is ranked in C-USA in kills per set (3.69-8th) and service aces (0.39-5th). Olivia Utt has anchored the team's defense with 38 total blocks. Utt is ranked fifth in C-USA in blocks averaging 1.08.

Baylor Scouting Report
Series: Against the Baylor Bears, the Miners are 6-3. Last season the two squads squared off in a close match where the Miners fell, 3-2. UTEP hammered a match-high 61 kills and added 82 digs, 56 assists and eight aces.  

Bear Notables
The Bears are 10-1 and have defeated top-ranked California this season. Baylor is led by Alyssa Dibbern, who has totaled 114 kills and posted a .304 hitting percentage. Dibbern is also second on the team with 32 blocks.

Binghamton Scouting Report
Series: This will be the first time both teams will meet.

Bearcat Notables
Leading the team is Xiomara Ortiz, who was named to the 2011 All-America East Conference second team. The junior leads the Bearcats' defense with 167 digs and has added 10 service aces. On the offensive end, the squad is led by Iva Partaleva, who has registered 125 kills and 12 blocks (2s/10a). The Bearcats were chosen to finish fifth in the America East's preseason poll.

Miners in the Rankings
The Miners are currently ranked second in Conference USA in hitting percentage (.238), second in blocks per set (2.42), fifth in kills per set (13.21) and assists per set (11.91). The squad has compiled an impressive 436 kills, 393 assists, 80 blocks (13s/134a) and 31 aces.

Nationally, UTEP is ranked 60th in blocks and 77th in hitting percentage.

The X-Factor
Xitlali Herrera earned her first Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week honor after posting a stellar showing this last weekend. The middle blocker recorded her first double-double of the season with 11 digs and 13 kills against Houston Baptist (9/8). The junior didn't stop there, as she hammered a season-best 20 kills, five block assists, six digs and registered a .485 hitting percentage versus Arkansas (9/8). The 2012 Pre-Season Volleyball All-Conference USA honoree averaged 4.08 kills per set, 2.85 digs per set and 1.08 blocks per set this past weekend.

Horton Continues to Rack `Em Up
For the third consecutive week, Jeane Horton was selected to an All-Tournament team. The outside hitter led UTEP to three straight victories tallying 54 kills, while hitting .315 to secure a spot in the Razorback Invitational All-Tournament team. The junior hammered a match-high 15 kills and recorded a .438 hitting efficiency against Houston Baptist (9/8). Previously, Horton registered 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.

Horton's Heroics
Jeane Horton is off to a great start in 2012. The junior is the top Miner in the national rankings, placing 38th in kills per set (4.21) and 95th in hitting percentage (.356). The outside hitter has registered double-digit kill performances in eight of the nine matches, including a season-best 21 versus Arizona State (8/25). Horton is the only player in Conference USA to be ranked in the top five for both hitting percentage (.356-4th) and kills per set (4.21-3rd).

Cant' Get Through Here
UTEP's frontcourt is dominating defensively through nine matches in 2012. The squad continues to climb the charts, ranking second in blocks per set in Conference USA and 60th nationally (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 and 43rd nationally averaging 1.30 blocks per set, while Xitlali Herrera is tied for sixth at 1.00. 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.

Double-Double for Patterson
Malia Patterson has shown to be a force not only as a setter but her defensive strives have proven to be effective as well in 2012. The junior has executed three double-doubles this season. The setter recorded 44 assists and 10 digs against Arkansas (9/8). Patterson ranks third in the league and 75th nationally averaging 10.39 assists per set. Patterson's season best has been 47 assists, achieved against both Fresno State (8/24) and UTSA (9/1).

Burruel for the Block
Cassandra Burruel is making a name for herself in 2012. The senior leads the Miners in blocks averaging 1.30. The middle blocker is not only ranked second in the conferece with a total of 43 blocks (5s/38a) but checks in at 43rd nationally.

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.



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