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UTEP beach volleyball shines in historical first home match

Joel Molina
Freshman Adriana Oporto jumps high in the air and attempts to hit the ball.

The cheers of fans, the sound of volleyballs being spiked, and the smooth movement of sand were heard at the sand volleyball courts behind the student recreation center March 9. A monumental day for UTEP and its beach volleyball team as they hosted the school’s first home match against Trinidad State Trojans. 

Some may be surprised to know that beach volleyball has some vast differences from indoor volleyball. Both schools divide their players into five teams with two players per team. All five teams will compete for the school during the match. Each team will be tasked with two sets, with the winning number being 21 points. A third set of 15 points could also be played if needed.

Each school will also have a sixth team that competes in a non-scoring match that will help place the school amongst the top five scoring in the tournament.  Each match is best of five, and the team that has at least three pairs of wins will win the match. 

The pairs to start for UTEP were junior Ema Uskokovic/freshman Mila Popovic and freshman Alexis Massey/junior Katie Call. Each won both sets and helped set the tone for the other teams.  The Miners were able to sweep both matches and finish their historic day with a 5-0 victory. 

A victory that not only was felt amongst the players but the fans as well, allowing them to experience the first home win in person, surrounded by the Franklin Mountains. UTEP fan Steve Blumenthal believes there should be more home games and the sport will bring a lot to UTEP. 

“It’s a different dimension of a popular game. It’s about time that we had an opportunity to be able to compete in this variety,” Blumenthal said. “I think we should have the facilities that will allow the UTEP players to compete.” 

For UTEP beach volleyball to be certified to host home games against D1 and D2 schools, they must build at least one more additional court to add to the two they already have. UTEP student and fan, Jonathan Garcia, wants UTEP to build that third court.  

“UTEP needs more home games,” Garcia said. “If the college can get that third court, we can have more home games so we can support our beach volleyball team.” 

With the future of the beach volleyball team still unknown, the game was certainly a steppingstone for what looks to be another great sports program in the making. 

The beach volleyball team will hit the road for several matches throughout the rest of the month and the next, gearing up for the Conference USA Championships on April 25-27.  

Joel Molina is the photo editor and may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Joel Molina
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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