UTEP to Square Off Against I-10 Rival NM State
The Miners will take on I-10 rival NM State in their last non-conference match of the season at 7 p.m. (MT) at Memorial Gym on Wednesday. The UTEP volleyball team will continue play at home against Conference USA opponents UAB at 7 p.m. on Friday and Memphis at 12 p.m. on Sunday.
UTEP had a stellar weekend defeating UCF, 3-0 and Southern Miss, 3-1. The Miners improved to 7-7 overall and 2-1 in C-USA matches. Jeane Horton and Malia Patterson were named C-USA Athletes of the Week for their performances over the weekend. Horton hammered a match-high 21 kills and registered a .633 hitting percentage against the Golden Eagles. Patterson recorded a double-double with 42 assists and 13 digs against UCF.
NM State Scouting Report
Series: The Aggies hold a 56-21 record over the Miners after NM State swept UTEP in three sets in 2011. Meredith Hays led the Aggies with 13 kills, but it was Kelsey Brennan that led the team with a .409 hitting average. Xitlali Herrera posted 10 kills and five digs. The Miners registered 35 kills with 14 block assists, but that wasn’t enough to hold off the Aggies.
NM State comes into the mid-week match with a 10-3 record overall, including a perfect 4-0 record in Western Athletic Conference play. The team is led by Meredith Hays with a .269 hitting percentage. Her 230 kills on the season tops the WAC list, while Hannah Walker leads the team with 143 digs leads.
UAB Scouting Report
Series: The Blazers come into the weekend with a 10-2 record over the Miners. UTEP dropped both matches to UAB in 2011. Xitlali Herrera pounded a double-double with 11 kills and 12 digs in the first meeting.
Sam Serley tops the kills list for the Blazers with 161 on the season. She has posted a .369 hitting percentage and 55 block assists during the 2012 campaign. Rachel Fairbacks leads the way for the Blazers with an average of 4.67 digs per set for a total of 285. As a team, the Blazers sit second on the conference list just behind the Miners for blocks with a 2.31 set average.
Memphis Scouting Report
Series: The Tigers come into the 2012 matchup with a 6-5 record against the Miners. Last season, the Miners defeated the Tigers in back-to-back matches. Xitlali Herrera posted a double-double with 13 kills and a team-best 13 digs in the second match.
Altrese Hawkins ranks fourth in C-USA and leads the Tigers in kills with 231, giving her a .205 hitting efficiency. Memphis is the only team in C-USA to have two players ranked in the top 10 for service aces (Maja Kostic and Aleksandra Petronijevic). The Tigers check in fifth in C-USA for total kills with 716 in the season and averaging 12.56 per set.
Miners in the Rankings
The Miners lead Conference USA in blocks per set (2.52), while ranking second in hitting percentage (.248), third in assists per set (12.4) and kills per set (13.6). The squad has compiled an impressive 680 kills, 621 assists, 120 blocks (23s/206a) and 52 aces.
Nationally, UTEP is ranked 51st in blocks, 54th in hitting percentage, 70th in kills per set and 91st in assists.
Juniors Leaving Their Mark
Juniors Jeane Horton and Xitlali Herrera have dented the UTEP recordbook for hitting percentage in four sets. Horton hammered 21 kills on 30 attempts with only two errors against Southern Miss (9/23). The outside hitter registered a .633 percentage to check in at No. 2 in the category. Herrera posted 16 kills on 24 attacks with three errors versus the Golden Eagles. The middle blocker recorded a .542 efficiency to rate fourth all time.
Horton Moving Up the Charts
Jeane Horton is one of two Conference USA players ranked in the top-20 in the nation for kills per set. The junior has recorded a stellar 222 kills, 32 blocks (3s/29a), 36 digs and .345 hitting percentage. The outside hitter checks in at 18th in the nation averaging 4.44 kills per set. Horton continues to climb the charts this season after changing from middle blocker to outside hitter last season. The Fresno, Calif. native is the only player to rank in the top-three in conference in hitting percentage (2nd) and kills per set (2nd). Previously, Horton registered a .567 hitting efficiency against Fresno State (8/24), setting the school standard in hitting percentage in five sets.