Tiger Drops Second-Straight Match to UTEP, 3-1
Oct. 8, 2011
EL PASO, Texas - The University of Memphis volleyball team dropped its second-straight match to UTEP, falling 3-1 (16-25; 20-25; 25-19; 20-25) to the Miners Saturday night at Memorial Gym. The Tigers move to 14-6 overall and 3-4 in Conference USA play, while UTEP improves to 15-5 overall and 5-2 in C-USA.
The UTEP defense held Memphis to a .138 team hitting percentage despite Altrese Hawkins and Marija Jovanovic turning in 14 kills and 11 kills, respectively. Hawkins and Jovanovic each also recorded seven digs, while Vesna Jelic and Lauren Hawkins downed nine kills apiece. Hajnalka Molnar finished the match with 42 assists to go along with four kills and four digs, while libero Aleksandra Petronijevic dug 15 balls for the second consecutive game.
Memphis jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the first setbehind kills from Lauren and A. Hawkins and then extended that lead to 5-3 with a kill from Jovanovic. However, UTEP rebounded with three-straight points to take a 6-5 lead. A service error by A. Hawkins gave the Miners a 7-6 lead, which they would never relinquish.
UTEP used a 4-1 run, which included kills by Jeane Horton and Jacqueline Cason as well as a setting error by Molnar, to take an 11-7 advantage. The Tigers would get as close as 19-16 after a solo block from Katie Meyer and a setting error on Malia Patterson, but UTEP finished on a 6-0 run to take the set 25-16.
The Tigers again got out to an early lead in the second set when a service ace from Molnar and a kill by Jovanovic made it 4-2. Xitali Herrera quickly responded for UTEP by downing back-to-back kills to net the set at four before a setting error by Aleksandra Petronijevic gave the Miners a 5-4 advantage.
Those three points were part of a 7-1 run by UTEP that gave the Miners a commanding 9-5 lead early in the set. Memphis battled back with consecutive kills by L. Hawkins and a solo block by Molnar to claw within 10-9, but a service error by Jelic ended the run and a kill by UTEP gave the Miners a 12-9 lead. Memphis kept it close for the rest of set, and found itself down 21-18 after a kill by A. Hawkins. Two-straight errors by the Tigers killed the run, however, and the Miners closed the set out, 25-20.
Just as in the second set, Memphis sprinted out to an early 4-2 lead behind kills from A. Hawkins and Jovanovic but allowed UTEP to fight back to take a 5-4 lead. The Tigers responded this time, however, as A. Hawkins netted four service aces in the midst of a 6-0 Memphis run that put the Tigers in front 10-5. The Miners got within three points after a kill by Marie-Therese Joyce made it 11-8, but the Tigers came back and took a 16-9 lead. UTEP would only get as close as 24-19 before a kill by A. Hawkins sealed the set for Memphis, 25-19.
UTEP killed the Tigers' third-set momentum by opening the fourth set on a 6-2 run powered by two kills by Herrera and two Memphis errors. Another kill by Herrera in addition to a block coupled with a Jelic error allowed the Miners to extend their advantage to 10-5. The teams traded points until back-to-back kills by Jelic got Memphis to within two points at 15-13, but the Miners regained control at 19-15 after two Memphis errors and two UTEP kills. The Tigers would get as close as 21-17 after a UTEP service error, but the Miners finished the set out 25-20 and the match, 3-1.
UTEP again used a balance attack and strong defense to outperform the Tigers. Herrera led the Miners with 13 kills while hitting at a .480 clip, and Bridget Logan also recorded 10 kills. Patterson finished with 31 assists, and Herrera (13) and Stephanie Figeuroa (12) each finished with double digit digs.
The Tigers now return to the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, where they are 6-1 this season, for matches against two of C-USA's top teams. Memphis will take on SMU Friday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. and Tulsa on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.