El Paso, TX — UTEP falls 2-3 (22-25, 25-23, 30-28, 29-31, 11-15) against Southern Miss at the 2013 Conference USA Championships on Thursday.
Xitlali Herrera proved to be a force for the Miners as she hammered 27 kills with only five errors on 46 attempts. The senior also registered a .478 hitting percentage, nine block assists, eight digs, seven assists, and two service aces versus the Golden Eagles. Junior Taylor Nix added power to the frontcourt with 16 kills. Malia Patterson aided the offense with a season high 60 assists. Victoria Valencia posted her fourth 20 ore more dig performance with 21.
UTEP (14-14, 7-8 C-USA) totaled 80 kills, 73 assists, 56 digs, and 14.5 team blocks, but it wasn’t enough to take down Southern Miss, who tallied 84 kills and hit a .309.
With eligibility to the second round of the 2013 Conference USA Championships at stake, both teams wasted no time putting out their best efforts on the court. The score tied seven times in the first set but a 5-1 run gave Southern Miss a three-point lead. The Golden Eagles maintained their 3-point lead winning the set, 25-22.
UTEP took a 6-3 lead to open the second set with the help of Herrera who had two kills. The Orange and Blue upheld its lead for the rest of the match as Southern Miss committed eight errors to UTEP’s four. The Miners secured the set with a kill by Dominique Millette.
With the match tied 1-1, the teams only fought even harder for dominance of the match, forcing the score to tie 16 times. The squads extended beyond 25 points tying the set at 28. A kill by Talia Jones gave the Miners the lead but a block by Herrera and Jones would ultimately steal the set for the Miners.
Much like the third, the fourth set extended beyond 25 points as the teams tied at 29. However, it would be Southern Miss to capture the set off of two consecutive UTEP errors.
The Golden Eagles took a 4-1 lead in the final set and would keep it as they posted a .444 hitting percentage while holding the Miners to a .250.
The Miners look bounce back as they take on St. Mary’s College and Pacific in their last matches of the 2013 season.