Three Miners Earn All-Conference USA Honors
Nov. 13, 2012
"I think the conference has recognized three very deserving players who are each having outstanding years for us," said head coach Ken Murphy. "In many ways this level of recognition reflects the growth and success of our entire team and all the hard work that they have put into this season."
Herrera and Horton earned spots on the first team while Patterson received second-team honors.
Herrera became the second Miner in program history to earn back-to-back first team honors, joining outside hitter Michelle Stovall (1983 and 1984). The junior is an all-around competitor and is one of two C-USA players that is a middle blocker and plays all six rotations. She has started in all 28 matches this season and leads the team in hitting percentage (.304) and is second in kills (323), digs (278), blocks (98) and aces (20). In C-USA matches this season, the middle blocker is ranked in three categories hitting percentage (.322-6th), kills (3.13-10th) and blocks (0.95-12th). Herrera has registered nine double-doubles this season for the Miners, including an impressive 17 kills and 15 digs versus Tulsa (10/12) where she led the squad’s defense and offense. She has earned three spots in the UTEP recordbook for hitting percentage in three sets (.647-4th) and four sets (.556-2nd) and (.542-4th). The middle blocker has totaled 10 or more kills in 18 matches and 10 or more digs in 14 matches during her 2012 campaign. This season, Herrera was named C-USA Defensive and Offensive Player of the Week.
"In my opinion, Xitlali (Herrera) is the best six rotation player in our conference," said Murphy. "She obviously has a great all-around skill set, but the thing that sets her apart is her ability to see the game very clearly and her propensity for making plays at important times in matches. Her ability to produce points and affect the match in both the front and back row make her a unique talent and someone that has had a very large impact on our team’s success."
This is Horton’s third honor; she previously was selected to the All-Conference USA second team (2011) and All-Freshman squad (2010). She has played and started in all 28 matches this season. The outside hitter is ranked 29th in the nation in kills per set (4.25) and points per set (4.89). She leads the team in kills (451), second in hitting percentage (.296) and third in blocks (78). Horton is one of two C-USA players to rank in the top 10 in kills (4.25-3rd), hitting percentage (9th) and points (4.25-3rd). The junior has earned the No. 2 spot in the UTEP recordbook for total kills (451) registered in a single season. During her 2012 campaign, Horton has recorded double-digit kill performances in 27 out of 28 matches, including a career-high 23 against Rice (10/21). She has totaled five 20 or more kill performances this season for the Miners and rates second all time for hitting percentage in four sets (.633). The Fresno, Calif., native was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week (9/24).
"Jeane (Horton) has really developed over the last year into one of the most imposing offensive players not just in our conference, but in the country." said Murphy. "She has an advanced set of offensive tools and the ability to adjust during the match to take advantage of openings in the defense. She has compiled some very impressive offensive numbers despite the fact that she gets so many sets and most of our opponents set up their defenses specifically to defend her."
"Our team led the conference in hitting and Malia (Patterson) played a large role in orchestrating that success," said Murphy. "She understands the priorities of our offense in all situations and consistently puts our hitters in a position to be successful. We ask her to make a lot of sets from a lot of different positions on the court and it’s impressive how easy she makes this look and how well she connects with her teammates."