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Miners volleyball returns home to host UTEP Invitational

Veronica Enriquez

The UTEP volleyball team is returning home after falling to the University of San Diego, defending national champions Texas Longhorns and the hosts the Hawaii Warriors at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine invitational Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in Honolulu, Hawaii

Despite dropping the first three games of the season, the Miners understood how tough their opponents were. The tournament also helped build confidence that has prepared them for their next challenges.

“Coach was really motivating throughout,” said senior middle blocker, Xitlali Herrera. “She made us feel very comfortable, and never made us feel as if we were less, but helped us to feel like we could play hard with any team.”

In the first day of the Chevron tournament the Miners took on San Diego, to whom they fell in four sets (14-25, 25-22, 23-25, 20-25).

Seniors Herrara and setter Malia Patterson both led the team in blocks. Contributing early against San Diego was Herrera with her first double-double of the season with 15 kills and 12 digs.

Followed by Hawaiian native and senior Patterson who had 34 assists against San Diego.

The second day the Miners would battle the Texas Longhorns where they fell 3-0 (13-25, 19-25, 21-25) and finished with a total of 31 kills, 30 assist and 30 digs going into the last game against No. 11 Hawaii.

The Miners concluded the tournament facing Hawaii where they were led by Malia Patterson with 20 assists, however, they would fall to Hawaii 3-0 (20-25, 25-15,25-10).

Although the Miners could not find success in the tournament, Patterson argued the trip to be a great experience that helped to motivate the team.

“It was a game I will never forget”, Patterson said. “Although we didn’t win, to have all of my friends, family and high school coaches there was just an unbelievable feeling. ”

Along with Patterson, Herrera also said that facing such strong teams has helped to motivate the team.

Although unsuccessful at the tournament, head coach Holly Watts argues the trip to be an encouraging experience and a way to help prepare us for the upcoming season.

“Traditionally Hawaii is know for great fan support. For our game there were over 7,000 fans, so it was great to play in that type of atmosphere,” Watts said. “Taking a set off San Diego was a good motivator. It was encouraging just knowing that they could hang with that such caliber teams. It gives them that encouragement they could use as we go into the rest of our season.”

Returning home the UTEP volleyball team will now prepare for the UTEP Invitational that will take place on Sept. 6-7 at the Memorial Gym, where the Miners will face Southern University, Oral Roberts and Texas Southern.

“We are playing to win all three of the matches,” Watts said. “We are going to be very focused this weekend in that we are trying to get better on our side of the net, so that next weekend and the following weekend and then conference coming up, we can keep perfecting our chemistry and our play.”

Ellisia Shafer can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Veronica Enriquez
Veronica Enriquez, Photo Editor
Veronica Enriquez is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in art. Currently, she is working as the photo editor at The Prospector and helps out at her church with the youth. Coming from a family of photographers and journalists she grew an interest for photography from a very young age and during her sophomore year at Franklin High School she began to have an interest for journalism. Veronica simply loves telling people’s stories through photography, print, audio or video. Some of her hobbies include going on overseas mission trips, playing music, helping out at her church, spending time with her fiancée, friends and family.
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Miners volleyball returns home to host UTEP Invitational