El Paso, TX — The UTEP volleyball team (9-6. 3-1 C-USA) claimed its third Conference USA victory of the season over FIU (7-9, 1-3 C-USA) on Sunday at Memorial Gym.
The Miners outlasted the Panthers in three sets (29-27, 25-15, 26-24).
Sophomore Talia Jones led the Orange and Blue with 12 kills as she secured a .269 attack percentage. Xitlali Herrera and Taylor Nix followed with 10 kills each.
Malia Patterson secured UTEP’s offense with 39 of the team’s 48 assists. Herrera added depth on the defense as she led the team with five blocks (4s/2a).
UTEP took an early lead in the first set as freshman Sarah Villa posted two service aces in a 5-0 run for the Miners. The Panthers fought back with a 3-0 run putting them two points behind UTEP. A second 3-0 run for FIU would tie the score at 16. As both squads fought point for point, a 5-1 run captured the first set for the Miners as Nix hammered out back-to-back kills.
The Miners continued their momentum to the second set as they delivered a .419 hitting percentage while holding FIU’s attack to .143.
UTEP set off the final set with a 2-0 run, but the Panthers responded with a 3-0 giving the Panthers a 5-3 lead. A 7-1 run extended FIU’s lead to 12-8 forcing the Miners to a timeout.
A 6-2 run kept the Panthers in the lead as three UTEP errors kept the ball in FIU possession.
Still in the game, the Miners responded with a 5-1 run putting the score 20-22. Two consecutive FIU errors tied the set at 24. UTEP sealed the match with back-to-back kills put up by Lindsey Larson and Herrera to give the Miners a 26-24 victory over the Panthers.
The Miners begin a two-match road trip next weekend, taking on Middle Tennessee State on Friday at 6 p.m. MT and Southern Miss on Sunday at 12 p.m. MT.