UTEP Miners rally against the Roadrunners


Annabella Mireles

Setter Kristen Fritsche bumps the ball during the game against the Blazers Oct. 22.

Katrina Villarreal, Contributor

UTEP volleyball (17-6, 6-4 C-USA) battled The University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners (8-14, 5-5 C-USA) over the weekend in San Antonio, Texas in a five-set match on both Friday, Oct. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 30. 

On Friday, Oct. 29, the Miners took down the Roadrunners, 3-2, in a five-set match; 25-23, 25-18, 17-25, 21-25, 15-9. The Miners recorded a total of 12 blocks and six service aces against the Roadrunners. 

In the Friday victory, four Miners recorded double-digit kills: junior outside hitter/middle blocker Alianza Darley recorded 12 kills, junior middle blocker Kenidy Howard recorded 13 kills, senior outside hitter Serena Patterson recorded 20 kills, and senior outside hitter Paulina Perez Rosas recorded 12 kills.  

Sophomore defensive specialist Alyssa Sianez put up a career-high of 29 digs in the game against the Roadrunners. Senior setter Kristen Fritsche put up 28 assists while sophomore setter Hande Yetis recorded 26 assists. 

For UTSA, senior setter Mia Perales recorded two service aces, senior outside hitter Kirby Smith recorded a double-double with 11 kills and 17 digs, and senior defensive specialist Mia Ybarra led the team in digs with 19. 

“It was a grinder match like I said from the beginning and we were able to grind out this win,” head Coach Ben Wallis said in a post-game interview. “UTSA served it really tough for two to three sets. They tried really hard to get us out of sorts and they did that for a little while, but we stayed strong and stayed competitive.” 

On Saturday, Oct. 30, the Miners fell short to the Roadrunners in a five-set match, 3-2; 21-25, 25-14, 25-21, 30-32, 17-1. The Miners recorded eight blocks, seven service aces, and hit .370. UTEP also recorded 80 kills, which could be a potential conference-high on the year. 

“It was a battle today,” head coach Ben Wallis said in a post-game interview on Saturday. “We did a lot of things right offensively for long stretches, but we just didn’t do enough block-and-defend when we needed to. We out-played ourselves.” 

The Miners had five players achieve season-high numbers during the game. Sophomore outside hitter Ava Palm recorded 16 points, 12 kills, three service aces and five digs, senior outside hitter Paulina Perez Rosas recorded 17 digs, sophomore defensive specialist Alyssa Sianez recorded 31 digs, and sophomore setter Hande Yetis recorded 41 assists. Junior middle blocker Vittoria Price was the lead scorer for the Miners with 20.5 points and a record of .750. Price also recorded 16 kills and three service aces. 

On the defensive side, Sianez tallied 31 digs while Perez Rosas recorded 17 digs for a double-double. 

For UTSA, senior outside hitter Hannah Lopez led the team with 17 kills, while junior setter Courtney Walters recorded 52 assists and three aces. Senior defensive specialist Mia Ybarra led on the defensive side with 19 digs.  

“I’m disappointed in the loss,” Wallis said Saturday in a post-game interview. “We had so many opportunities to win in the fifth set, but we just didn’t earn it. We snatched defeat from the jaws of victory this afternoon which is really frustrating. This one’s going to hurt for a while because we had so many opportunities to win and we just weren’t able to do it.” 

The Miners are set to host the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (14-9, 5-4 WAC) on Nov. 3 at Memorial Gym. The match will have 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 UTSA provided by goutsa.com.  

Katrina Villarreal is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]