POCATELLO, Idaho – UTEP hit 0.373 in a three-set sweep, 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-13) in its second game of the Bengal Invitational hosted by Idaho State on Saturday afternoon. The effort for miners improves to 2-0 for the first time in 10 years.
UTEP will aim to become the tournament winners of the Bengal Invite when they meet with hosts Idaho State tonight (Saturday, August 28) at 7:30 p.m. MT. There will be live stats for the game and there will also be a live stream on ESPN + for the competition against the Bengals.
“We hit it well, we dug it well, we passed it the way we could, which is good,” said UTEP head coach Ben Wallis. “Idaho State does some good things, so we have to be better tonight. It will be on ESPN + at the same time as the soccer game, so hopefully the Miner fans will cheer us on and we’ll both get a win. “
It was a balanced attack against Seattle U, with five different players (Serena Patterson-10, Alianza Darley-eight, Vittoria Price-eight, Ema Uskokovic-seven, and Ava Palm-five) recording at least five kills. The price hit 0.889, Darley checked in at 0.800, and Patterson at 0.438. The Orange and Blue recorded five blocks, including three from Price.
“We’re still not blocking it the way I would like, but that will take some time,” said Wallis. “We were really good offensively. We were more physical and still pretty even to have almost five players with 10 swings each. “
Kristin Fritsche showed her all-round game by leading the team in both assists (18) and digging (10) for their first double-double of the season. Hande Yetis were credited with eight assists before going down with an injury. Freshman Ryley Frye stepped in to allow UTEP to continue their 6-2 system, bringing in six assists and a ditch in their college debut.
“Ryley got in there and worked at a pretty high level, which was pretty exciting for her,” said Wallis. “It was her first college volleyball experience. She served it hard and was able to make some games. “
Alyssa Sianez added seven digs for the Miners, who finished the game at 33. UTEP also had seven service aces, two each from Fritsche and Palm.
Seattle University fought really offensively by hitting .065 which was hit by 17 attack errors. Fifteen different miners took part in the game.
“Our entire line-up is playing and because we’re good enough to get everyone to play,” said Wallis. “That gives us more flexibility.”
The two sides traded points early in the first set and it was tied at 4-4 before UTEP put the ball in gear. The Miners scored six of the next seven points to lead 10-5, forcing the Redhawks to call a timeout. It didn’t slow the momentum of UTEP, which took advantage of a 10-3 spike to widen the margin to 20-8. The miners put it on cruise control on the route and took the opening set 25-13.
UTEP hit 0.321 on the set while holding Seattle U at -.115. The Miners scored 14 kills, including four from Patterson and three from Uskokovic and Price.
It was highly competitive from the start of the second set, with UTEP holding onto a 9-8 lead. The oranges and blues began to heat up and tore off a 10-5 run to find some breathing space at 19-13. The Redhawks tried to get back in, narrowing the lead to three (20-17) before the Miners finished the set in style to a 25-19 win.
Five straight points from the goals set the tone for the Miners in the third set. Seattle cut it down to 7-4, but UTEP didn’t let the Redhawks get any closer the rest of the way. The orange and blues beat them at 18-9, the rest of the way to clear the set and secure the match sweep in the process. UTEP scored a staggering .550 on set, with 12 kills and only one mistake on 20 swings.