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Junior Xitlali Herrera led the Miners in kills, hitting percentage and digs but it wasn’t enough to defeat Conference USA leader Tulsa on Friday night.
UTEP (11-9, 5-3 C-USA) dropped the match 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 5-15) against the Golden Hurricane at Norman, Okla.
Herrera had a stellar showing as she registered 17 kills, 15 digs and recorded a .364 hitting efficiency versus Tulsa. Setter Malia Patterson also tallied a double-double with 41 assists and 12 digs. While Jeane Horton hammered 11 kills, five digs and two block assists.
Tulsa took an early 3-1 lead at the beginning of the first frame, but UTEP would fight back scoring back-to-back points with a kill by Herrera and a block combo by Cassandra Burruel and Horton tying the set at 3-3. The Golden Hurricane pulled ahead of the Miners, 6-3 but UTEP answered back with three straight points to once again tie the frame 6-6. Tulsa powered ahead of the Miners with a 8-2 run forcing UTEP to call their first timeout of the match. The squads switched points until the Miners struck with a 4-1 run to get within one at 17-18. That’s as close as UTEP would get as the Golden Hurricane ran away with the set, 25-20.
The Miners came out strong in the second stanza going on a 4-2 run off of two Tulsa attack errors and a kill by Herrera. The Golden Hurricane would register two points before UTEP pulled together a 4-2 run at 8-6. The teams would trade points before the Miners struck with a 6-2 run off of three Tulsa errors and a kills by Cason and two by Herrera to put the frame at 15-10. UTEP would maintain the lead and hammered back-to-back kills to stretch their advantage to 20-16. The Miners put together a 4-0 run, but Tulsa would not relent, striking back with a 6-0 run to put the set at 24-22. Ultimately, UTEP prevailed with a kill by Herrera closing the frame, 25-22.
The Miners were ahead 3-2 before Tulsa recorded a 5-1 run to take a 7-3 lead over UTEP. Both squads would go back and forward until the Golden Hurricane pulled ahead by four with a pair of kills by Tyler Henderson, UTEP called a timeout in order to regroup. The teams would switch points and the Miners would earn two points to put the set at 24-18. Henderson hammered one last kill to give Tulsa the stanza, 25-18.
The fourth set saw 14 ties and six lead changes. Both teams battled for control at the start of the frame, but UTEP tallied a 4-1 run with two Tulsa errors and kills by Taylor Nix and Herrera to take an 11-8 advantage. The Golden Hurricane would not go away posting a 4-2 run to pull within one at 13-12.The Miners pounded back-to-back kills to force Tulsa to call a timeout at 16-13. The Golden Hurricane would not back down recording a 4-1 run to tie the set; 17-17.UTEP would not go down without a fight as they went on a 3-1 run to take a one point lead. Tulsa would tie the frame once again at 21-21, but UTEP stole the set from the Golden Hurricane registering a 4-1 run with kills by Horton and Cason pair with a block by Burruel and a Tulsa attack error to close it out at 25-22.
Tulsa wasted no time as they opened the frame with a 6-0 advantage in the final set of the night. The Miners would get on the board with a pair of kills by Nix and Herrera, 2-7. The teams would trade points and UTEP would come as close as five, but the Golden Hurricane was unstoppable storming out with a 5-0 run to seal the match, 15-5.
The Miners will travel to Dallas, Texas to take on SMU at 12 p.m. (MT) on Sunday. Live stats will be available online at utepathletics.com.
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