UTEP extended their home winning streak to five as they defeated the Cougars, 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-19) on Friday in Memorial Gym.
“We’ve been playing well lately,” said head coach Ken Murphy. “It was nice to be in our gym with the crowd behind us. We have been through a lot this year and the team has shown how well they can play.”
Junior Jeane Horton led all players with 10 kills to bring her to 339 kills for the season. Junior Xitlali Herrera posted eight and added nine digs, four block assists and hit .364. Sophomore Taylor Nix posted seven kills with only one error registering a .400 hitting percentage. Junior Malia Patterson dished out 34 assists and had four digs against the Cougars.
UTEP wasted no time in the first frame, jumping out to a 12-3 lead of a 9-0 run with the help of Patterson’s serves forcing Houston to commit six attack errors. The squads would trade points, but the Miners were unstoppable with Herrera hammering back-to-back kills to extend UTEP’s lead to 18-7. Houston’s Emily Howard posted three kills to close the gap to 19-10, but UTEP would earn two straight points with a kill by Horton and a Cougar error. Houston called a timeout, but UTEP would not go way as a block assists by Herrera and Cason closed out the set for the Miners, 25-13.
The second set began like the first with UTEP storming past Houston taking an early 8-2 advantage, led by Horton with three kills. The teams traded points until the Miners ran out with a 6-1 run off of two consecutive UTEP kills. Houston was unable to stop the Miners attack and UTEP once again sealed the frame with a paired block by Herrera and Cason.
The Cougars were on the board first with a pair of kills, but the Miners executed 3-0 run to pull ahead of Houston, 7-3 in the third stanza. The Cougars battled UTEP registering a block assist to cut the Miners advantage by one. UTEP wouldn’t let Houston take the lead striking with a 7-2 run forcing Cougars to call a timeout to try and stop the Miners momentum. Horton recorded two straight kills to give the Miners an 18-9 lead. UTEP never allowed Houston to get close as they dominated the attack and struck with a final kill to take the match, 25-19.
The Miners will once again take on Conference USA opponent, Rice at 12 p.m. (MT) on Sunday in Memorial Gym.