UTEP Breaks the Green Wave in Straight Sets

NEW ORLEANS, La. – UTEP Volleyball (7-2) picked up its second sweep, taking down Tulane, 25-20, 25-15, 25-18, on Thursday night at Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse. 

“I was excited to see that we got back to our identity from the service line when it came to really being in control of the puppet strings,” head coach Ben Wallis said. “We really locked in and got intentional, and that was good to see.” 

UTEP’s Torrance Lovesee registered a double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs. Hande Yetis and Mattie Gantt combined for 39 assists while Alyssa Sianez registered 13 digs.  

UTEP held the all-around statistical advantage in kills (48-28), hitting percentage (.355 – .149), blocks (7-4), and aces (6-2). 
“It was great to see Sakira (LaCour) play so well out of system, and she looked confident tonight, made the right choices, and executed really well,” Wallis said. “Danika (Washington) just keeps being super-efficient; she’s leading the conference right now in hitting percentage, which is not surprising because she’s so athletic. I was really happy and proud of Mattie (Gantt) for getting back in the flow of things as well.” 

SET ONE | UTEP took on the Green Wave with a 9-2 run to open the match. Coach Wallis won an early challenge that awarded Torrance Lovesee with an ace before Tulane had a 4-0 run to close in 15-10. The Green Wave turned around to challenge a UTEP touch that resulted in a reversed score to force a UTEP timeout at 18-15. The Miners cashed in a 4-0 run heading into set point and closed the opening set with a big block by Sara Pustahija and Danika Washinton, 25-20. 

SET TWO | Tulane had an early 4-3 lead, but UTEP took it away with a kill and an ace. The Miners drew a 6-1 run to stretch the lead by five, 11-6, forcing Tulane to sidebar. The Miners owned the court as they raked up a 5-1 run to end the set, 25-15, while registering a .457 hitting clip. 

SET THREE | The Green Wave opened the final set with a 5-1 lead, but UTEP tied it, took the lead at 7-6, and never looked back. Heading into the midway mark of the set, UTEP drummed up four unanswered points that included ace No. 6 for the Miners. UTEP’s 10 final points were pure kills drilled in by five Miners, with Lovesee accounting for four, to shut the Wave down, 25-18.

“Our message all week has been how we’re a really fast, shiny, awesome sports car with cool rims, and so we need to stop being reckless,” Wallis said. “We need to just let our car do the work, you know? And we just have to keep being more intentional about not being reckless. And we weren’t reckless at all tonight. It was nice to just get out of there with a sweep against a big, big, long team that has the ability to stop you at times, and I’m proud of our effort, and now we’ll turn our eyes to Houston Christian.”