UTEP secures sweep against NMSU on the season

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UTEP Wins Battle of I-10, on Nov. 10. Photo credit: Ruben Ramirez

Emily Autumn Velasquez, Sports Editor

The UTEP volleyball team (20-6, 8-4 Conference USA) finished off their regular season Wednesday, Nov. 10 against New Mexico State University (18-8, 9-4) with a win after five sets.  

This is the first time UTEP is 2-0 on the season against NMSU since 2001, and their first win at NMSU since 2004. The Miners defeated the Aggies in a five set reverse sweep 3-2. 

Senior outside hitter Paulina Perez Rosas led the team with 20 kills and finished with 11 digs for a double double. Senior setter Kristen Fritsche led the team with 25 assists while sophomore setter Hande Yetis trailed with 22.  

Sophomore defensive specialist Alyssa Sianez anchored a match-high of 26 digs for the Miners. The Miners were able to rack up nine blocked and 10 service aces in their match against the Aggies.  

“They knew we were good, and we knew they were good. This was two really good teams that wanted to test and challenge each other,” said Head Coach Ben Wallis in an interview following the game. “Both teams never stopped, and we made them [NMSU] uncomfortable, we forced that.” 

The Miners started off the first set strong with a service ace from Yetis and gained an early lead after a 4-0 scoring run. As they led 23-17, the Aggies were able to come together and go on a 9-1 run to take the first set after a final score of 26-24. 

The second set consisted of both teams trading points to lead to a score of 12-12 before the Aggies would go on a 4-0 scoring run to take the lead. The Miners did their best to try and make a comeback, but after the Aggies went on a 12-7 scoring run, the set was over with a score of 25-19.  

In the third set, both teams came out with an intensity like never before. After 11 tied scores and four lead changes, the Miners came together to win the set with a score of 25-23 and avoid being swept.  

In the fourth set, it was easy for the Miners to build up on the momentum they had after winning the third set. The Miners came out hot and went on a quick five-point lead where the Aggies were trying to play catch up but were unsuccessful, and the Miners took the set 25-19.  

In the fifth and final set, the Miners were able to get on the board first. The set had four tied scores, but UTEP rallied and maintained the lead. The Miners played strong and produced a 6-1 run to take the lead. After attack errors from NMSU, UTEP was able to secure the victory in the Battle of I-10 for the second time this season.  

This victory gave the Miners 20 wins on the season and gives the Miners their best season record since 2005. 

“I’m really proud of my group for accomplishing 20 wins. Great teams in moments like these have multiple players that want to go make the special, tough, take-risk plays,” Wallis said in a post-game interview. 

The Miners next match is against Conference USA East’s number 3 seed FIU at 5 p.m. on opening day of the C-USA Championship Tournament that kicks off Friday, Nov. 19 in Norfolk, Virginia.  

Stats acquired with the help of UTEP Athletics. 

Emily Autumn Velasquez is the sports editor and can be reached at [email protected]