UTEP Miners sweep Southern Miss over the weekend


Photo credit: Ace Acosta

Katrina Villarreal, Contributor

UTEP volleyball (15-4, 4-2) defeats Southern Miss (10-12, 2-6) over the weekend in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in a four-set match on Friday, Oct. 15 and a five-set match on Saturday, Oct.16. 

On Friday, Oct. 15, in a four-set match, the Miners got the win against Southern Miss; 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16. The Miners hit .336, recorded 11 blocks, and had four service aces over the Golden Eagles. 

In the victory on Oct. 15, the Miners had three players reach double digit kills: junior outside hitter/middle blocker Alianza Darley recorded 10 kills, senior outside hitter Serena Patterson recorded 16 kills, and junior middle blocker Vittoria Price recorded 11 kills.  

Senior setter Kristen Fritsche led the team with 29 assists and sophomore setter Hande Yetis recorded 17 assists. Senior outside hitter Paulina Perez Rosas and sophomore defensive specialist Alyssa Sianez racked up 13 digs each.  

Freshman outside hitter Mia Wesley recorded a season high of 25 kills in the 2021 season for Southern Miss, along with a hitting percentage of .333. Junior setter Kenzie Smith had 43 assists and 10 digs, while senior outside hitter Lauren Talbert recorded 11 kills and 11 digs. 

On Saturday, Oct. 16, in a five-set match, the Miners were able to come out with a win against Southern Miss; 28-26, 15-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-9. The Miners recorded eight service aces, 11 blocks, and hit .354 with its second-most assists of 66. 

“It was stressful,” said head coach Ben Wallis in a post-game interview on Saturday. “Southern Miss played a lot harder today and served it a lot tougher. We didn’t handle their service pressure very well for long stretches, but we battled and took a couple punches.” 

In the victory on Oct. 16, the Miners had a repeat of Friday’s game where they had three players reach double digit kills once again. Senior outside hitter Serena Patterson reached a career-high of 25 kills, senior outside hitter Paulina Perez Rosas recorded 16 kills, and freshman outside hitter Ema Uskokovic recorded 12 kills.  

Once again, senior setter Kristen Fritsche led the team with a personal best of 33 assists and sophomore setter Hande Yetis recorded 20 assists. On defense, sophomore defensive specialist Alyssa Sianez ranks first on the team with 15 digs and three service aces. Fritsche and Perez Rosas achieved a double-double with 12 and 10 digs each. 

For Southern Miss, freshman outside hitter Mia Wesley recorded 29 kills, beating the season high she recorded on Friday, making it the most kills by any Golden Eagle in the 2021 season. Senior outside/middle hitter Kinsley Hanback recorded 12 kills with a hitting percentage of .417 and junior setter Kenzie Smith recorded 54 assists and six kills. 

“It got kind of chippy between the two teams and luckily my team was a little bit more veteran and composed,” Wallis said in a post-game interview on Saturday. “That just shows that we decided we were going to hit the ball hard and be more physical. That’s why we got the victory.” 

The Miners face off against Conference USA rival, the University of Alabama at Brimingham (8-10, 3-3) at the Memorial Gym on Friday, Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 23 at 12 p.m. Both matches will be streamed on CUSA.tv, with live stats available. 

All stats and quotes for UTEP provided by the Department of Athletics Strategic Communications, and UTEP Athletics official website utepathletics.com.  

All stats for Southern Miss provided by southernmiss.com. 

Katrina Villarreal may be reached at [email protected]