UTEP Holds Off Tigers in Four
Sept. 30, 2012
EL PASO, Texas - The University of Memphis volleyball team looked to keep the momentum from Friday night going when they took on UTEP on Sunday. However, the Miners came out and took the first two sets 25-15 and 25-20 going into the break. Memphis came back to win the third set 26-24, but it wasn't enough as the Miners took the fourth set 25-19 for the 3-1 win.
The Tigers (6-12, 1-3 CUSA) quickly gained the lead in the first set thanks to a block by Marija Jovanovic and Katie Meyer. The teams then traded points until UTEP began to earn separation with the score tied a 7-7. The Miners (10-7, 4-1 CUSA) scored back-to-back points and held a 9-8 lead before going on an 8-1 run to gain a commanding 17-9 lead. The Miner advantage grew to 21-11, and UTEP took the set 25-15 behind a .387 attack percentage. Altrese Hawkins led the Tigers with six kills in the set.
Memphis turned an 11-9 second set deficit into a 12-11 lead behind consecutive kills by Lauren Hawkins and Altrese Hawkins. However, the Miners then used a timeout and went on a run. Jaden Louie put Memphis up 14-12 with an ace before the UTEP offense started to heat up. UTEP then went on an 8-1 run, gaining a 19-14 advantage in the process. The Tigers tried to comeback, but the Minors took the set 25-20. Maja Kostic led the Tigers with five kills in the set.
The Tigers came out of the break behind the serve of Aleksandra Petronijevic and quickly gained a 3-0 lead. However, the Miners responded with a 5-0 run that was ended by a Kostic kill, giving UTEP a 6-5 lead. UTEP then led 14-11 before a Louie kill sparked the Tiger offense. Louie and Lauren Hawkins then teamed up for a block before Lauren Hawkins and Altrese Hawkins evened the score with another block.
Following a tie at 17, Altrese Hawkins, Kostic and Jovanovic all recorded kills to put Memphis ahead 20-17 and force a Miner timeout. The Tigers extended the lead to 21-17 UTEP went on a 3-0 to force a Tiger timeout at 21-20. The UTEP run ended at 5-0 as they took a 22-21 lead. However, Memphis came back and held off one match point as Louie and Lauren Hawkins teamed up for a block. Kostic followed with an ace, and Altrese Hawkins gave Memphis the 26-24 win with her 11th kill of the match.
The teams traded points to start the fourth set before the Miners went on a run. UTEP's Jacqueline Cason started a quick 4-0 spurt with a kill as the Miners took a 10-6 lead. The deficit stayed at four until the Tigers made a run and got within 15-14 on an Altrese Hawkins kill. However, UTEP gradually pulled away and held a 20-16 advantage, forcing the Tigers to use their final timeout. Altrese Hawkins had a kill coming out of the timeout and the Tigers got within 21-19 before UTEP scored four straight points to take the match 3-1.
Altrese Hawkins led the Tigers with 16 kills while Kostic followed with 13. Petronijevic led the team with 17 digs, and Hawkins recorded 12 digs for the double-double. Louie recorded a team-high 33 assists.
"We have no reason to hang our heads today. Today wasn't about effort or energy it was simply volleyball. UTEP put pressure on us early with their serving game," Head Coach April Jauregui said. "They are a very strong blocking team and they force you to work around that. That was the difference in the first 2 sets. We came out in the third set and really went after them and fought back. I am proud of our team for that. We are close to a breakthrough. Every match counts this season. It will be a battle every night for the top eight places in conference. If we can build on this weekend, we will be ready to face UAB."
Memphis will be in action again on Friday when the host UAB at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse at 7:00 p.m. Friday is also Dig Pink night so be sure to wear pink to the match!