Miners Open Homestand
Oct. 18, 2013
The UTEP volleyball team will set off a four game home stand this weekend as the Miners take on Rice at 12 p.m. (MT) on Sunday. UTEP will then step outside of conference play as they take on the Grand Canyon Antelopes at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
UTEP (10-7, 4-2 C-USA) split the weekend action as they ran past Middle Tennessee, 3-1 and fell short against Southern Miss, 3-0 this past weekend. The Miners effort on the court currently ranks the squad fourth in Conference USA.
Xitlali Herrera lead the Orange and Blue against Middle Tennessee as she hammered out 19 kills, and registered a .485 hitting percentage. Setter Malia Patterson secured UTEP’s offense with 32 of the team’s 42 assists.
Herrera continued to dominate for UTEP against Southern Miss as she posted a match high of 17 kills and delivered seven digs for the Miners. Malia Patterson aided the offense as she secured 32 assists.
For live stats please visit: http://www.utepathletics.com
Rice Scouting Report
Series: The Owls come into the weekend with a 27-8 record against the Miners. Last season, UTEP fell short to Rice, 3-2. Seniors Xitlali Herrera and Malia Patterson recorded double-double performances in the showdown against the Owls. Herrera pounded 13 kills, 19 digs, five blocks (1s/4a) and three service aces as she led the Miners’ defense. Patterson tallied 52 assists, 11 digs, and two block assists. The Miners out hit the Owls 67-62, but it wasn’t enough as the Owls registered a .210 hitting efficiency.
Leading Rice’s effort on the court is Sara Blasier. This past weekend the setter garnered Conference USA Setter of the Week honors as she directed the Rice offense with an average of 12.57 assists per set and 88 helpers for the week. Offensively, she posted 11 kills with zero errors on 17 attacks for a .647 hitting percentage. The redshirt freshman notched four kills on six attacks with three blocks and 53 assists in Rice’s four-set win against Marshall (10/11). She also led the team to a season-high .450 hitting percentage against the Thundering Herd. Blasier added 35 assists and two blocks at the net in the sweep over Charlotte (10/13).
Grand Canyon Scouting Report
Series: The Miners hold a 3-2 advantage over the Antelopes. The last time the sqauds squared off against one another was in 1989.
Grand Canyon is led by senior Kaitlynn Ausmus, who has posted 195 kills earning her a 2.83 attack percentage. Ausmus collected a career-high 23 kills and 22 digs in GCU’s five-set WAC opener against Kansas City (9/26). She was selected to the Big Green Invitational All-Tournament team and the Wolf Pack Invitational All-Tournament team.
The Watts Era
Holly Watts is currently 4-2 in league play as UTEP’s head coach.
Watts, who played for Texas from 1989-1993, brings 19 years of Division I coaching experience to the Miners, including lengthy stints at Arkansas (1996-2008) and Florida State University (2008-13), where she worked with head coach Chris Poole.
Together Poole and Watts were instrumental in producing thirteen 20-win seasons in 17 years, with 13 NCAA Tournament appearances during that span.
Miners in the Rankings
The Conference USA Preseason Poll placed UTEP fifth out of 15 teams.
Six games into conference play, the Miners are currently in sixth place with a 4-2-league record. UTEP is currently ranked sixth in hitting percentage (.223) and kills (13.41), eighth in assists (12.38), 10th in blocks (112.5) and service aces (1.16) and 11th in digs (14.40). The squad has compiled an impressive 809 kills, 748 assists, 114.5 blocks (35s/159a) and 69 aces.
Nationally, UTEP is ranked 82nd in kills per set with Herrera leading the pack with 247kills.
Xitlali Herrera is known for being a force at the net. The senior leads the frontcourt with 247 kills and is ranked fourth in Conference USA.
The senior’s execution in kills has also garnered her NCAA recognition as she ranks 26th in the nation in kills per set (4.26).
The middle blocker tied for the top spot in the UTEP recordbook in kills in three sets. Herrera hammered a career high 24 kills against Oral Roberts 9/26. Herrera sits next to Catherine Porter (1999) in the category with 24 kills posted against Rice.
Talia Tallies Success
Sophomore Talia Jones adds depth to the Orange and Blue as she consistently puts up stats for the Miners.
Jones is second on the team in kills with 182 this season including a season high 18 kills against Louisiana Tech (9/27) in UTEP’s Conference USA opener. The outside hitter ranks 15th in kills in the league as she averages 3.14 per set.
The sophomore also excels in service aces as she ranks eight in C-USA. Jones has delivered 16 aces, averaging 0.28 per set including a season best against Texas Southern (9/7).
Jones performance also ranks her 19th in the league for points as she averages 3.52 per game. The outside hitter pounded a stellar 14 kills posting a .333 hitting percentage against Tulane (9/29).
Senior Victoria Valencia has dented the UTEP recordbook this season.
The Libero earned the top UTEP individual all-time spot in digs in three sets as she registered 38 digs against Oral Roberts (9/6). The El Paso native has since posted 218 digs, averaging 3.63 per set. Valencia is ranked 14th in Conference USA for digs.
After splitting on the road this past weekend with a win against Middle Tennessee and a loss against Southern Miss, the Miners are looking to redeem themselves at home as they host a four game home stretch.
In 2011, the Miners held a 10-4 record at home. In 2012 UTEP held an 8-4 record. The Miners have an overall record of 78-48 in Memorial gym.
Currently the Orange and Blue holds a 5-1 home record and seeks to continue UTEP’s success at home.
In 2012, senior Malia Patterson totaled 1,177 assists for the Miners, and in 2013 she has proven that she will continue to her dominance on the court. The senior has registered a total 595 assists including a season high of 55 against Oral Roberts (9/6).
She is ranked seventh in Conference USA for assists (9.76 per set). The setter has already climbed up the UTEP recordbook ranking fifth in program history with a career total of 3,312 assists. Chris Brandl (88-91) rates first with 4,210.
Assists Name Years
4,210 Chris Brandl ‘88-91
3,899 Patty Jamoe ‘07-10
3,409 ReDee Granado ‘93-96
3,386 Veronica Acosta ‘96-00
3,312 Malia Patterson ‘10-13
Aces for Acevedo
In her first season with the Miners, transfer Dayana Acevedo is becoming a player to watch.
The junior has secured 14 service aces for the Miners, ranking her 17th in Conference USA. The defensive specialist has also delivered 152 digs for the Orange and Blue, including a season high 20 digs against La Tech.
Herrera on Track for Huge Season
Xitlali Herrera has shown to be a force as she leads the Orange and Blue both defensively and offensively. The senior has executed six double-doubles this season. Herrera leads the team as she ranks in kills, hitting percentage, and points in league play and nationally. She has posted 257 kills, 19 assists, and four service aces. Defensively, Herrera has already secured 54 blocks (14s/40a) this season, bringing her career total to 285 (37s/248a). If she can maintain her current pace, she would finish fourth all time at UTEP in career blocks.
Senior Leaving Her Mark
After only three seasons with the Miners, Herrera has registered an outstanding 964 kills. If the middle blocker continues at this pace she will become the 10th Miner in the 1,000 kill club.
The middle blocker is an all-around player that has already captured 247 kills in only 17 matches. The senior has also tallied six double-doubles this season for the Miners.
Herrera made her way onto the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational, UTEP Invitational and Art Carmichael All-Tournament teams. Earlier this season, the middle blocker was also selected to the 2013 Conference USA Preseason Volleyball team after finishing the 2012 season as an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention.
Patterson was named to the Art Carmichael Invitational All-Tournament team as Valencia garnered a spot on the UTEP Invitational All-Tournament Team.