UTEP to Challenge UAB at C-USA Championships

A Massey

Nov. 15, 2012


The Last Meeting
September 28, 2012
Memorial Gym
UTEP Volleyball Extends Win Streak to Five
The UTEP volleyball team extended their win streak to five with a sweep of UAB on Friday night.

After a two-year hiatus the Conference USA Championship makes a return, as UTEP will battle it out against UAB in the first round of the tournament. The squads are set to take the court at 1 p.m. (MST) on Friday. Tulsa will serve as host of the tournament from Nov. 16-18 at the Raynolds Center. For all updates on the tournament, visit www.conferenceusa.com/championships/w-volley-championship-12.html.

The Miners (16-12, 10-6 C-USA) are led by the trio of Jeane Horton, Xitlali Herrera and Malia Patterson. Horton and Herrera were named to the 2012 All-C-USA first team while Patterson earned a spot in the second team. Horton leads UTEP attack with a total of 451 kills and has added 78 blocks (18s/60a). Herrera is an all-around middle blocker who plays all six rotations for the Miners. The junior has registered a .304 hitting percentage, 323 kills, 278 digs, 98 blocks (13s/85a) this season. Patterson has helped the squad post a .241 hitting percentage and has tallied 1,143 assists for the Miners.
UAB Scouting Report
Series: The Blazers hold an 10-3 edge over the Miners since their first meeting in 2003. The last time the teams met, UTEP extended their winning streak to five as they defeated UAB, 3-1. In that meeting, junior Jeane Horton led the Miners with 15 kills and eight digs, while junior Xitlali Herrera matched a career-high .647 hitting percentage with 13 kills for the night. Herrera’s career high ranks fourth all-time in the UTEP recordbooks in hitting percentage in three sets. Cassandra Burruel also recorded double-digit kills with 10 and registered eight blocks (2s/6a). Setter Malia Patterson contributed 36 assists for the Miners. As a team, the Miners dominated the battle at the net with 11 total blocks to the Blazers’ five.

Blazers Notables
Leading the offensive effort for the team is Sam Serley, who received All-C-USA first team honors. The senior leads the conference in hitting percentage (.384) and blocks per set (1.41).The middle blocker has registered 326 kills and 171 blocks (43s/128a) this season for the Blazers. Protecting the back court for UAB is Rachel Fairbanks, who has tallied 615 digs to earn her the No. 2 spot in the C-USA performance list. The libero was also recognized by the league as she received second team honors. In her first year with UAB, Sam Skinner has made a name for herself as she was named C-USA Freshman of the Year earlier this week. The outside hitter has compiled an impressive 249 kills, 140 digs and 53 blocks (14s/39a). The Blazers check in at the top spot for blocks with a total of 316 and are third in the conference in hitting percentage (.214).

Tulsa Scouting Report
Series: UTEP comes into the weekend with a 28-22 advantage against the Golden Hurricane. The last time the squads met, the Miners defeated the regular-season champions, 3-2. In what proved to be a team effort, Jeane Horton led the Miners’ attack with 22 kills and nine blocks (1s/8a). Teammates Xitlali Herrera and Bridget Logan each posted 11 kills versus the Golden Hurricane. Herrera earned her eighth double-double of the season with 16 digs and added five block assists. Setter Malia Patterson not only recorded another double-double, but also struck with a match-high 52 assists. The junior also tallied, 15 digs and five block assists for the Miners defensive efforts. Senior Cassandra Burruel earned her fourth double-digit block effort of the season with 11 block assists.

Golden Hurricane Notables
Tulsa is led by C-USA Player of the Year Tyler Henderson. The outside hitter is ranked second in the nation in kills averaging 5.09 per set and checks in third in points per set with a 5.58 clips. The senior has compiled 547 kills, 121 digs, 55 blocks (3s/52a) and has hit a .303 this season. Also earning conference recognition is Jessica Adams, who was named the 2012 Libero of the Year. She paces the league with 5.15 digs per set, which also earns her the 46th spot in the nation. She is the first Golden Hurricane in school history with more than 500 digs in four straight seasons with 569. Tulsa is ranked first  in the league in three categories: assists per set (13.36), kills per set (14.39) and digs per set (17.74).

SMU Scouting Report
Series: SMU holds a 20-8 record over the Miners since they first met in 1996. The last time the squads squared off UTEP defeated the Mustangs, 3-1. Xitlali Herrera hammered a match-high of 18 kills with only three errors on 27 attempts. The middle blocker earned the No. 2 spot in the UTEP recordbook for hitting percentage in four set recording a .556 efficiency. Jeane Horton posted 12 kills, while Jacqueline Cason registered eight and added three block assists. Setter Malia Patterson also tallied a match-high of 47 assists and totaled five digs for the Miners. UTEP hit .281 versus the Mustangs and finished the match with eight total team blocks.

Mustang Notables
the duo Caroline Young and Courtney Manning paces the Mustangs’ offense this season. Young is ranked in C-USA for kills per set (3.34-9th) earning her a spot in the All-C-USA first team. Thus far, the sophomore has compiled 357 kills, 122 digs, 54 blocks (3s/51a) and 46 aces. Young also leads the league in service aces and checks in 16th in the nation averaging 0.43 per set. Manning has already broken the school record in blocks and only needs six more to reach the 100 mark. The senior currently sits in the No. 6 spot in C-USA for hitting percentage (.305). She was also recognized by the conference, earning second team honors. The Mustangs have compiled 1354 kills, 1518 digs, 1249 assists and 230.5 total blocks (44s/373a).

Miners in the Rankings
The Miners are among the best in Conference USA statistically, placing first in hitting percentage (.241), while ranking second in blocks per set (2.38), third in assists per set (12.21) and kills per set (13.26) and eighth in service aces (1.02). The squad has collected an impressive 1406 kills, 1294 assists, 252 blocks (56s/392a) and 108 aces.

Nationally, UTEP is ranked in the top 70 in two categories; hitting percentage (55th), and blocks per set (68th).

C-USA Coach of the Year
UTEP’s Ken Murphy was named 2012 C-USA Coach of the Year. Murphy becomes the third coach in program history to have been recognized with this honor (Norman Brandl, 1984 and Revis Ward-Daggett, 2000). The Miners concluded the regular season with a record of 16-12, including 10-6 in C-USA action.

UTEP’s 10 league victories tie for the second most in a single season in program history. The school standard was set in 1984 (13-1 OCAC) while both the 1996 (10-6 WAC) and 2005 (10-6 C-USA) squads also reached double figures in conference play.

The award is a culmination for Murphy, who along with his staff has steadily built UTEP into a viable program. The Miners have 35 victories in the past two years, the most since compiling 37 from 1989-90.

UTEP stumbled out of the gates at home (0-3) but wrapped up the season very strong. The Miners went down the stretch 8-1 at home, including a victory against NM State (9/26). It was the first time since 2001 that UTEP proved to be victorious against the Aggies at Memorial Gym.

UTEP ended its season at home on a high note as they defeated regular-season champion Tulsa (11/4). In what proved to be a tough match, UTEP was victorious and was one of two C-USA squads that defeated the Golden Hurricane this season.

Junior Standouts
The trio of Xitlali Herrera, Jeane Horton and Mali Patterson was named to the All-C-USA squad on Tuesday. 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).

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 31st in the nation in kills per set (4.25) and 25th in points per set (4.89). She leads the team in kills (451), second in hitting percentage (.296) and third in blocks (78).

This is Patterson’s first All-Conference USA honor. The setter started and played in all 28 matches this season and checks in 50th in the NCAA in assists per set (10.78) and leads the team in assists with 1,143. The junior is among the best in C-USA, earning the No. 2 spot for assists per set. Patterson has registered 10 double-doubles this season for the Miners, including 52 assists and 15 digs versus Tulsa (10/4).

Horton’s Stellar Season
Jeane Horton has made major improvements after changing positions during her 2011 campaign. The junior surpassed her season total from 2011, tallying 418 kills this season for the Miners. The outside hitter continues to impress and has also earned the No. 2 spot in the UTEP recordbook for total kills registered in a single season. The junior has recorded double-digit kill showings in 27 out of the 28 matches this season for the Miners.

The outside hitter is one of three Conference USA players ranked in the top 35 in the nation for kills per set. The junior is 31st in the nation averaging 4.25 kills per set. The Fresno, Calif., native is one of the three players to rank in the top 10 in conference in hitting percentage (.296-9th) and kills per set (3rd).

Horton led the Miners’ attack versus Tulsa (11/4) posting her fifth 20 or more kill performance with 22. She also helped UTEP register an outstanding 17 total team blocks with a career-high nine (1s/9a) against the Golden Hurricane.

Most recently, Horton registered 14 kills with only three errors and hit a .324 hitting percentage versus Marshall (11/11).

Double-Double Machine
Malia Patterson is setting her own mark on the court having already  tallied 10 double-doubles this season. Most recently, the junior registered 52 assists and 15 digs and added five block assists versus Tulsa (11/4). The setter continues to maintain the No. 2 spot in the conference rankings and has secured the No. 50th spot nationally for assists per set (10.78). The setter has recorded 31 or more assists in 27 out of 28 matches thus far. She has helped the squad post a .241 hitting percentage, as the Miners lead the conference and rank 55th nationally.

The junior has tallied 15 service aces, surpassing her mark from last season when she posted five. Patterson can also protect the net, as she adds 47 block assists, breaking her 2011 season record of 30. The setter is also third on the squad in digs with 243.

The X-Factor
Xitlali Herrera is an all-around player for the Miners this season. The C-USA All-Academic honoree holds top rankings in three categories in Conference USA only matches. The junior checks in sixth in hitting percentage (.322), 10th in kills (3.13) and ninth in points (3.86).  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. The middle blocker had a stellar match versus ECU (11/9) where she hammered 12 kills with only one error on 24 attempts. The Mexican native leads the team in hitting percentage (.304). Herrera also earned her career-high dig total in a match with 19 against Rice (10/21). Herrera ranks second on the team in four categories; kills (323), blocks 98 (13s/85a), digs (278) and service aces (20).

Burruel for the Block
Cassandra Burruel is on a tear in 2012. The senior has crushed her 2011 block total (24) by registering 126 thus far. The senior has earned multiple spots in the school recordbook, including the school record for block assists in five sets with 11 posted against Tulsa (11/4). She also currently sits at the No. 3 spot for season block assists (111), teammate Xitlali Herrera is second in the category with 121 registered last season.

The senior checks in at No. 3 in Conference USA in blocks per set 1.19. The middle blocker has posted four double-digit block efforts this season with 10 against Tulane (10/28), Fresno State (8/24) and Southern Miss (9/23) and a career-high 11 versus the Golden Hurricane. Burruel has tallied a total of 176 kills and registered a .261 hitting percentage this season.

Miners Leaving Their Mark
Xitlali Herrera, Jeane Horton and Cassandra Burruel have dented the UTEP recordbook this season.

Herrera continues to leave her mark in the school annals. The middle blocker checks in third in the UTEP recordbook in hitting efficiency in four sets with a .556 registered versus SMU (11/2). The junior hammered a match-high 18 kills with only three errors on 38 attempts against the Mustangs. She also earned the fourth all-time spot earlier this year in the school annals for 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.

Burruel also has secured a spot in the school recordbook this season. She sits  in the No. 2 for block assists in four sets with nine recorded against Southern Miss (9/23).

C-USA Taking Notice
UTEP has earned five Conference USA Athlete of the Week honors this season. Xitlali Herrera is the only individual to earn both of the league’s defensive award (9/10) and offensive award (10/1). The middle blocker has had a stellar season 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 Houston (10/7), as she pounded nine kills, 11 digs, two block assists and hit a .300 clip.

Malia Patterson has been recognized by the league twice this season receiving C-USA setter of the week honors (9/24 & 10/1). The junior contributed 56 assists and eight digs versus the Aggies. Patterson tallied 35 assists, nine digs, two block assists and two kills versus the Cougars.

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 as UTEP defeated Southern Miss (9/23). 



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