EL PASO – UTEP volleyball triumphed over the UT Arlington Mavericks, claiming victory in four sets during the second round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Gym. The Miners now set their sights on a quest for redemption as they prepare to face Clemson in the quarterfinals on December 6 at 7 p.m. MT on their home turf.
The match will be live streamed on ESPN+ with live stats available. Tickets for Wednesday’s contest is $10 reserved seating general admission and can be purchased HERE.
UTEP improves to 23-9 while UTA caps the season at 21-11.
“We were very physical today,” head coach Ben Wallis said. “We earned our berth in the NIVC and to get into this tournament and continue to play it means a lot to us. We really appreciate this team giving us everything they have.
“This city loves volleyball, and we needed to give them a reason to come and cheer and watch really good athletic volleyball and this city has responded,” Wallis said. “We keep collecting fans every time we play a match. I’m proud of our group for continuing to show that they really care about being a great volleyball team and putting on a show for the people of El Paso.”
Alianza Darley’s zero-error performance led the squad with 15 kills while hitting .536 and Torrance Lovesee followed with 12 kills and a career-high six aces. Kalia Kohler (27) and Hande Yetis (12) combined for 39 assists to help the UTEP offense to a .372 hitting clip. For the defense, Alyssa Sianez recorded 11 digs and Kaya Weaver stuffed seven blocks.
UTEP’s all-around performance held the statistical advantage in hitting percentage (.372 – .254), aces (14-5), and blocks (10-5) while both teams posted 53 kills.
Set-by-Set: UTEP 3, UT Arlington 1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-13, 25-21)
SET ONE | UTEP put down eight kills in its 10-8 lead to open the match and were first to 15 points heading into the media timeout, 15-11. The Mavs came within two points, but the Mines pulled ahead from a kill and block by Danika Washington to force a UTA timeout, 20-15. UTA took another timeout in an attempt to ice the Miners after a pair of aces from Torrance Lovesee put them up 23-17. A service error from the Mavs secured the set win for UTEP, 25-18.
SET TWO | UT Arlington jumped out to an early 10-5 lead as the pressure induced a UTEP timeout. The Mavs continued to stretch the lead as they went up 14-7. UTEP pulled off a 9-1 scoring run with two UTA timeouts in the midst, to regain the lead, 16-15. The Mavs came up once again on a successful challenge, 19-18. UTEP dished out four unanswered points for the 22-19 edge, but UTA responded with four of its own before UTEP took the final timeout of the set. The Miners knotted the set at 23-all but the Mavs put down a pair of kills to win the set, 25-23.
SET THREE | The Miners stormed out to a 10-2 utilizing five UTA errors in addition to their four kills and an ace by Lovesee. UTEP ran with a 12-point lead that included two kills and a pair of aces by Lovesee, 19-7. Both teams went one-for-one for the remainder of the set as UTEP locked in the set win, 25-13.
SET FOUR | The final set featured a tied score on nine occasions with five lead changes. UTA grabbed an early lead, but UTEP rallied to go up 7-5 on a successful challenge by head coach Ben Wallis. The Miners sat with a three-point lead, however, the Mavs took over on a 4-0 scoring run, 13-12. Both teams issued back-to-back points to pose as set leader heading into the media timeout as UTA led 15-14. Coming out of the break, UTEP submitted a 6-1 run that forced two UTA timeouts, 20-16. The Miners put down four kills to UTA’s two as they reached match point, 24-18. The Mavs closed the deficit on three straight kills but UTEP’s Alianza Darley slammed the door of the Mavs with a final kill to win the match, 25-21.