Miners suffer big blow with loss of Coline Coessens

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Miners suffer big blow with loss of Coline Coessens

Sophomore outside hitter Coline Coessens leads the Miners in total attempts and kills.

Sophomore outside hitter Coline Coessens leads the Miners in total attempts and kills.

Javier Cortez

Sophomore outside hitter Coline Coessens leads the Miners in total attempts and kills.

Javier Cortez

Javier Cortez

Sophomore outside hitter Coline Coessens leads the Miners in total attempts and kills.

Javier Cortez, Sports Editor

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Over the weekend, the UTEP women’s volleyball team suffered their 13th loss of the season and dropped six games below .500. But the straight-set sweep handed out by the UTSA Roadrunners at Memorial Gym on Sunday was secondary to an even bigger loss for the Miners.

Starting outside hitter Coline Coessens is out for the season with a non-injury medical issue, as stated by UTEP athletics and head coach Holly Watts.

The third-year coach, Watts, would not go into specifics on Coessens’ health, only saying that she would not play the rest of the season.

Coessens was not available to the media directly, but did relay a brief statement.

“I’m getting fixed for next season to come back stronger,” she said.

The loss of Coessens was apparent in Sunday’s match, where the Miners were overpowered by the Roadrunners, as described by coach Watts.

The Miners were greatly outplayed for the better part of the match and had no answer for the Roadrunners’ blistering attack. Offensively, the Miners turned in a below average performance, with a team hitting percentage of .037.

“It was competitive a lot of the way,” Watts said. “Then they just overpowered us and we weren’t able to put the ball on the ground. We just had eight kills in each set, that’s not going to win anything.”

It was a match where the Miners had very few bullets left in the chamber. Coessens led the team in total attempts, kills and was tied with junior setter Lindsay Larson for sets played. The loss of Coessens left the Miners shorthanded in many ways.

“(We felt shorthanded) in a lot of ways,” Watts said. “We had people step in and play roles, but she was a lot of our attempts and kills and so we haven’t filled that (void).”

The biggest priority for the Miners now is finding an adequate replacement for Coessens, and doing so in little time. The Miners are back in action on Friday night, Oct. 16, against Marshall and Sunday, Oct. 18, against Rice.

“We are just going to work on our chemistry,” Watts said. “It’s still the same people, but it’s a different mentality now. Just knowing that we don’t have Coline and just be ready to attack regardless.”

Freshman middle blocker Maddie Morgan saw some time at right side hitter, along with sophomore Dalainee Perry. It is even possible that freshman Idalis Rodriguez, who is a Chapin High School graduate, can see more time on the court. Nevertheless, people will have to step in and step up.

“I feel like people have stepped in,” Larson said. “It’s given the chance for people to step in and play new positions. Dalainee (Perry) played right side, Maddie (Morgan) is the middle blocker and she played right side, and they are doing a good job adjusting. It’s going to take time for them to get used to a new position, but I feel that people are stepping in and it’s giving people a chance to get out and play.”

Larson, who was on the floor with Coessens every set this season, knows how much the Belgium native means to the team more than anyone. The loss of Coessens will more than likely stifle any chance of the Miners making a run at the Conference USA tournament, let alone getting back above .500.

“She’s an extremely good player and it really sucks not having her,” Larson said. “Obviously we are glad that she is healthy and doing good. She’s going to come back next year and we are excited about that, but we are really missing her on the court.”

The Miners square off with Marshall at 6 p.m. at Memorial Gym on Friday, Oct. 16.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]

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