Lady Miners continue to fight to end of season


Michaela Roman

Sophomore middle blocker Dominque Millette attempts a kill against the Miners in the last conference home match of the season against Charlotte on Nov. 9. Millette is fifth in total blocks in Conference USA for the season.

Javier Cortez, Sports Editor

This past Sunday (Nov. 9), the UTEP women’s volleyball team lost for the 19th time this season against the Charlotte 49ers. Compiled with the other 18, the loss might not stand out to most because it all but ends the Miners’ hopes of competing in the conference tournament, but the effort brought forth by the Miners on Sunday was nothing short
of commendable.

Like most times this season, the Miners beat themselves rather than the opponent. Charlotte took the first two sets with ease and came out of the 10-minute intermission looking for an easy sweep.

Uncharacteristic of the 2014 squad, the Miners came out and took control of the match. They stormed back from two sets down to push the match to a fifth set, which is a rarity that has only happened four times this season.

In the fifth set, the Miners gained control early, but the 49ers went on a 7-1 run that shut the door on the Miners’ comeback win.

“It was a fight for sure,” said defensive specialist Ashley Peak. “We came back and fought as hard as we could. We really want to go to conference (tournament) and we we’re fighting for that I just don’t think we got the end result that we wanted.”

After the match, it was apparent that this loss hurt more than the others. At times during the season the Miners could see defeat. Although the Miners’ attitude after matches was somber, this loss left some
players disheveled.

“It’s hard to comeback after losing the first two sets,” said sophomore setter Lindsey Larson. “I mean we fought to the end, but it just sucks about the outcome.”

The effort does not match the end result, but the Miners’ competitiveness over the past month has improved. The Miners have lost six of their last 10 matches, but have been competitive in all but two of the matches.

All season long, the Miners have had trouble gaining any consistency to stay competitive from match to match. But now, as the season comes to a close, the Miners are playing their best, win or lose. Larson attributes the late-season spark to the chance of a C-USA tournament bid.

“I feel like we felt an urgency to win,” Larson said. “Just the fact that the conference tournament was lying on the line, we needed to put some fire under our butts. It got us playing better and more competitive.”

The Miners’ last two conference matches and the slim hope of getting into the C-USA tournament will depend on their games against Western Kentucky and North Texas. In late October, the Miners lost narrowly defeat to North Texas in five sets, and in mid-September Western Kentucky easily defeated the Miners, 3-0.

“We’re not completely eliminated,” said head coach Holly Watts. “I think we feel like there is some hope and something to play for. There is always pride to play for and getting better.”

Unless the Miners can will themselves to play some of their best volleyball against two quality teams, their season has a set end date. After the Miners’ last two conference road matches, they will play New Mexico State and Texas Christian University at the end of November.

Whether the Miners’ destiny is already sealed, they will play the season out with pride.

“I just want to see us go out fighting,” Larson said. “Every set, every point—just go out with a bang. We won’t be able to go to conference, but the fact that we don’t give up and keep fighting for every point will still be that much better for next year.”

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]