UTEP Looks to Continue Home Success
Oct. 25, 2013
Today, the UTEP Volleyball team will host the UAB Blazers at 7 p.m. (MT). The Miners will then wrap up their four-match homestand against UTSA on Sunday at 12 p.m.
UTEP (12-7, 5-2 C-USA) set off a week of home matches with back-to-back wins as the Orange and Blue beat Rice, 3-0 on Sunday and Grand Canyon University, 3-0 on Wednesday.
Xitlali Herrera led the Miners as she garnered her first Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week honor this season. Herrera dominated for UTEP against Rice as she secured 12 kills with only one error, eight digs, and two block assists. Malia Patterson aided the Miner offense as she delivered five kills with zero errors and 31 assists. Libero Victoria Valencia rounded out UTEP’s defense with a match high 14 digs.
The Miners carried their momentum into their match against Grand Canyon University as Herrera hammered a match high 16 kills, garnering her a .556 hitting percentage. Patterson posted a match high 35 assists while Valencia delivered 17 digs.
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UAB Scouting Report
Series: The match will be the 12th meeting between UAB and UTEP. The Blazers hold a 9-2 lead in the series. The two teams last met Nov. 16, 2012 in the C-USA tournament, where the Blazers came out with a 3-0 sweep. UAB is currently seventh in C-USA standings.
Individually, UAB has a player ranked in the top 50 nationally in four different categories. Becca Howard leads the conference in assists per set (11.53), which puts her ranked at No. 13 nationally. Rachel Fairbanks leads Conference USA in number of digs per set (5.02) and ranks 27th nationally. Sam Skinner ranks 26th in both kills per set (4.23) and points per set (4.77). She is second and third, respectively in conference rankings.
Sara Rishell has led UAB in blocks per set (1.21) and ranks second in the conference. She also ranks ninth in hitting percentage (.334) and 13th in points per set (3.86). Kiriana Hirini ranks fourth in the conference in hitting percentage (.370), fifth in blocks per set (1.11) and 11th in points per set (3.89).
UTSA Scouting Report
Series: The Miners lead the series 21-10 against UTSA. Last season, Xitlali Herrera recorded her 10th double-double of the season with 10 kills and 12 digs. Victoria Valencia posted her second 20 or more dig performance with 20. Setter Malia Patterson compiled a match-best 34 assists.
UTSA comes into the match ranking second in Conference USA with a 15-7 overall record, including 7-1 in the league. Preseason C-USA Player of the Year McKenzie Adams leads the Roadrunners’ efforts on the court. The outside hitter garnered her 16th double-double in UTSA’s game against North Texas (10/20) as she hammered 15 kills and posted 15 digs.
The Watts Era
Holly Watts is currently 5-2 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 fifth place with a 5-2-league record. UTEP is currently ranked third in service aces (1.25), fifth in hitting percentage (.228) and kills (13.56), seventh in assists (12.50), 10th in blocks (121.5) and digs (14.48). The squad has compiled an impressive 868 kills, 800 assists, 120.5 blocks (39s/165a) and 80 aces.
Nationally, UTEP is ranked 73rd in kills per set with Herrera leading the pack with 274kills.
C-USA Taking Notice
Xitlali Herrera is the only Miner to earn a Conference USA Player of the Week Honor. The veteran earned the leagues offensive award (10/22) after leading UTEP to a 3-0 win over Rice. Herrera hammered out 12 kills with only one error, securing her a .611 hitting percentage. The middle blocker also posted eight digs and two block assists.
Xitlali Herrera is known for being a force at the net. The senior leads the frontcourt with 274 kills and is ranked fourth in Conference USA.
The senior’s execution in kills has also garnered her NCAA recognition as she ranks 27th in the nation in kills per set (4.21).
The middle blocker tied for the top spot in the UTEP recordbooks 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 201 this season including a season high 18 kills against Louisiana Tech (9/27) in UTEP’s Conference USA opener. The outside hitter ranks 16th in kills in the league as she averages 3.14 per set.
The sophomore also excels in service aces as she ranks third in C-USA. Jones has delivered 20 aces, averaging 0.32 per set including a season best against Texas Southern (9/7).
Jones performance also ranks her 18th in the league for points as she averages 3.60 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 242 digs, averaging 3.84 per set. Valencia is ranked 12th in Conference USA for digs.
UTEP opened a four game stretch at Memorial Gym with back-to-back wins against Rice and Grand Canyon University. The Orange and Blue looks to continue to dominate at home as they take on UAB and UTSA.
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 7-1 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 661 assists including a season high of 55 against Oral Roberts (9/6).
She is ranked seventh in Conference USA for assists (9.88 per set). The setter has already climbed up the UTEP recordbook tying for fourth in program history with a career total of 3,386 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
3,386 Malia Patterson ‘10-13
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 274 kills, 20 assists, and six service aces. Defensively, Herrera has already secured 59 blocks (15s/44a) this season, bringing her career total to 286 (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.