Miners Take the Show on the Road
Oct. 4, 2012
UTEP (10-7, 4-1 C-USA) dominated the week’s action by defeating NM State (3-2), UAB (3-0) and Memphis (3-1) to stay perfect in the last six matches. The Miners have now enjoyed a winning streak of at least six in back-to-back campaigns for the first time in 22 years (1988-90).
For the first time since 1996 and the third occasion overall, UTEP has suffered only one loss through five league matches.
With team success it’s only natural for individual honors to follow. After a big weekend, juniors Xitlali Herrera and Malia Patterson were named C-USA Athletes of the Week for the second time this season. Herrera hammered 13 kills and registered a .647 hitting percentage against the Blazers. The junior was also a force at the net as she posted nine blocks (4s/5a) versus the Tigers. Patterson recorded a match-high 56 assists and added eight digs against the Aggies.
Rice Scouting Report
Series: The Owls hold a 25-8 advantage over the Miners after Rice swept UTEP in last year’s meetings. UTEP’s Xitlali Herrera posted 12 kills and seven digs against the Owls. Malia Patterson tallied a match-high 36 assists and added seven digs. Despite UTEP’s defensive effort that included 53 digs and 10 blocks, Rice posted 26 blocks (2s/24a) and hit .274 for the match.
Rice comes into the match with a 11-8 record overall, including 4-1 in Conference USA. Rice is ranked second in C-USA in hitting percentage (.236), assists (13.36), kills (14.14) and digs (16.52). The squad is led by Megan Murphy, who is the only conference player to rank in the top five in assists (11.09, 1st) and hitting percentage (.335, 3rd). Murphy has tallied 93 kills, 765 assists, 150 digs, 29 block assists and a .335 hitting percentage this season. Leading the Owls’ attack is senior Nancy Cole, who is ranked eight in C-USA in kills per set with 3.55.
Houston Scouting Report
Series: The Cougars come into the weekend with a 11-6 record against the Miners. UTEP split the matches with Houston in 2011. The Miners upset the Cougars last season as Malia Patterson, Jeane Horton and Xitlali Herrera all registered career highs. Patterson produced 63 assists, while Horton and Herrera pounded 25 and 20 kills, respectively. The Miners showed resilience as they hammered 71 kills to the Cougars’ 57 and hit a stellar .316 for the match, including a .414 clip in the fourth stanza.
Houston is ranked seventh in C-USA in blocks per set with 1.93. Chandace Tryon leads the team recording 55 blocks (12s/43a), 156 kills, 40 digs and a .322 hitting efficiency. The senior holds two spots in the C-USA rankings for hitting percentage (7th) and blocks per set (11th). The Cougars have tallied 642 kills, 602 assists, 814 digs and 110 blocks (28s/164a) during their 2012 campaign.
Miners in the Rankings
The Miners continue to excel earning the No. 1 spot in Conference USA in blocks per set (2.58) and hitting percentage (.250), while ranking third in assists per set (12.35) and kills per set (13.60). The squad has compiled an impressive 843 kills, 766 assists, 160 blocks (35s/250a) and 64 aces.
Nationally, UTEP is ranked in the top-50 in two categories; blocks (41st) and hitting percentage (38th). The Miners also check in 70th in kills per set and 95th in assists.
Juniors Leaving Their Mark
Juniors Xitlali Herrera and Jeane Horton have dented the UTEP recordbook this season.
Herrera continues to leave her mark in the school annals. The middle blocker earned the fourth all-time spot in the recordbook in hitting efficiency in three sets as she registered a .647 hitting percentage against UAB (9/28). Previously, the Mexican native also posted 16 kills on 24 attacks with three errors versus Southern Miss (9/23). She recorded a .542 efficiency to rate fourth all time for hitting percentage in four sets.
Also checking in the category is Horton, who hammered 21 kills on 30 attempts with only two errors against the Golden Eagles. The outside hitter registered a .633 percentage to rank second in the classification.
Horton on Track for Huge Season
Jeane Horton has already hammered 271 kills this season. If she can maintain her current pace, she would finish second all time at UTEP in kills in a single campaign.
The outside hitter is one of two Conference USA players ranked in the top-25 in the nation for kills per set. The junior checks in at 22nd in the nation averaging 4.37 kills per set. The Fresno, Calif., native is the only player to rank in the top-five in conference in hitting percentage (5th) and kills per set (2nd).
C-USA Taking Notice
UTEP has earned five Conference USA Athlete of the Week honors this season. Xitlali Herrera was the first Miner to be recognized by the league securing the defensive award (9/10) and has tabbed the offensive award this week after UTEP earned their fourth conference win of the season. The middle blocker had a stellar week as she recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 15 kills and 11 digs against I-10 rival NM State (9/26). The junior also led the team past Memphis, (9/30) as she pounded 12 kills, nine blocks (4s/5a), seven digs and hit a .280 clip.
Malia Patterson was named C-USA setter of the week for the second time this season. The junior was recognized after posting three match-highs this past week. The setter contributed 56 assists and eight digs versus the Aggies. Patterson concluded the weekend action by tallying 39 assists, five digs, two block assists and one service ace versus the Tigers.
Jeane Horton was named offensive player of the week (9/24) leading the Miners’ attack with a match-high 21 kills on 30 attempts with only two errors. She added seven block assists as UTEP defeated Southern Miss (9/23). The junior posted 13 kills and two block assists as the Miners swept UCF (9/21) to pick up their first C-USA victory of the season.
Patterson Makes it a Double
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 six double-doubles this season. The setter has earned the No. 2 spot in the conference rankings for assists per set (10.86). The junior is also tied second on the squad for digs with 153.
Xitlali Herrera is an all around player, earning spots in three categories in Conference USA only matches rankings. The junior is ranked first in hitting percentage (.445), third in blocks (1.39) and seventh in kills (3.56). The middle blocker has contributed four double-doubles, including one this past week. Herrera is second on the team in five categories; kills (193), blocks 64 (11s/53a), digs (153), service aces (11) and hitting efficiency (.325).
Cant’ Get Through Here
UTEP’s frontcourt is dominating defensively through 17 matches in 2012. The squad continues to move up the charts, ranking first in blocks per set in Conference USA and 41st nationally (2.58). 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 first in the league and 35th nationally averaging 1.34 blocks per set, while Xitlali Herrera had a outstanding performance against Memphis (9/30) posting nine blocks (4s/5a) to check is seventh at 1.03. 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.
Burruel for the Block
Cassandra Burruel is on a tear in 2012. The senior has crushed her 2011 block total (24) by registering 83 thus far. In fact, she is on pace to have the third most block assists in a single season at UTEP. The senior leads Conference USA in blocks per set 1.34. The middle blocker posted her second double-digit block effort with 10 (1s/9a) against Southern Miss (9/23). She also added eight kills in the match-up. Burruel has tallied a total of 108 kills this season and checks in 11th in the league’s charts in hitting percentage averaging .293.
The Miners will look to continue their winning ways as they travel to Houston, Texas to challenge C-USA opponent Rice at 6 p.m. (MT) on Friday. The UTEP volleyball team will then battle it out against Houston at 12 p.m. on Sunday.