Senior Marie-Therese Joyce lead the Miners with a career-high seven block assists to power a strong all-around performance for UTEP, as the Orange and Blue defeated Memphis, 3-1 (25-16, 25-20, 19-25, 25-20) at Memorial Gym on Saturday.
UTEP dominated the match, posting 45 kills, 39 assists, 50 digs and 23 (1s/22a) blocks. The Miners (15-5, 5-2) out hit the Tigers registering a .265 (45-14-117) hitting percentage compared to Memphis .138 (49-29-145) average.
Joyce not only lead the team in blocks but also posted nine kills, six digs and registered a .471 (9-1-17) hitting average.
Sophomore Xitlali Herrera also had a stellar performance posting a double-double with 13 kills and a team-best 13 digs. Herrera added four block assists and registered a .480 hitting percentage against the Tigers.
Junior Bridget Logan put down 10 kills, four digs and three (1s/2a) blocks. Sophomore Malia Patterson dished out 31 assists and six digs.
UTEP surged to a 3-1 lead to open the frame. Memphis chipped away at the deficit with back-to-back Tiger kills. With the score tied at 6-6 the Miners embarked on a 5-1 run to extend the score to 11-7. Memphis tried to battle back but the Miners attack did not stop as UTEP hammered nine kills, four aces and six blocks in the first set.
With momentum on its side, UTEP took advantage and, at one point, led by as many as four points, 6-10. The Tigers rattled off with back-to-back kills from Lauren Hawkins to edge closer to the Miners at 8-10. Both teams went back and forth until Jeane Horton blasted the ball to give the Miners a 21-17 lead. A Memphis timeout helped the Miners regroup and they were able to put away the Tigers 25-20 off a kill by Logan.
With the contest deadlocked at 2-2, UTEP jumped out to a 4-2 lead on the strength of an ace by Stephanie Figueroa and a pair of kills by Herrera. The Tigers battled back to knot the set at 5-5. Memphis went on a five-point run with back-to-back service aces by Altrese Hawkins. UTEP continued to fight back with a pair of kills from Joyce to cut the edge 11-8. Trailing 15-24, UTEP staged a rally with a block assists by Joyce and Jacqueline Cason to close the gap to 19-24. However the Tigers lead was enough and Altrese Hawkins would close the set with a kill.
UTEP came out swinging in the fourth stanza, leading 6-2 with a pair of kills by Herrera. The Miners extended the advantage 10-5 with a block assists by Herrera and Patterson. The Tigers picked up the pace with back-to-back kills by Vesna Jelic forcing a UTEP timeout. The Miners timeout proved effective as UTEP regained control of the set forcing back-to-back Tiger attack errors. Herrera hammered the ball to seal the match, 25-20.
The Miners will travel to Houston, Texas to take on Houston on Friday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. and Rice on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.