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UTEP Muzzles the Bulldogs with straight sets victory 

EL PASO – The Miners remain undefeated at home as the UTEP Volleyball team won a sixth-consecutive match in a dominating victory sweep over LA Tech Saturday afternoon.

The Orange and Blue have now won 20 consecutive sets inside Memorial Gym this season. 

UTEP improves to 17-6 overall and 9-3 in Conference USA play, while LA Tech drops to 6-16 (1-9 CUSA).

Alianza Darley led the squad with 10 kills while hitting .350 and put up a block to register a team-high 10.5 points. Mattie Gantt (21) and Kalia Kohler (15) combined for 88 percent of the teams assists to help the UTEP offense to a .296 hitting clip. Gantt along with Danika Washington paced the UTEP defense with nine digs and six blocks, respectively. 

UTEP's all-around performance held the statistical advantage in kills (44-27), hitting percentage (.296–.071), aces (5-2) and blocks (10-5).  

SET ONE | UTEP tucked in only three kills before taking an early timeout as LA Tech led 8-3. The Miners knotted the set at 12-all off a Torrance Lovesee kill and Tech error. Both teams went back-and-forth before UTEP took the lead, 18-17. The Miners put down a pair of kills, but Tech responded with three unanswered points to regain the lead, 22-21, to force a UTEP timeout. Sakira LaCour came in clutch with a kill and block to hand the lead back to the Miners, 24-23. LA Tech tied the set at 24-all but gave up a point to UTEP on a service error and Darley came in with a kill to win the set, 26-24. 

SET TWO | LA Tech opened the second set with a 4-1 lead. UTEP played out a 7:2 run that consisted of five kills, 8-6. Tech had a run of their own to go up 10-9, but the Miners flipped the set with a kill and a pair of blocks, 12-10. Tech tied the set one last time, 12-12, and UTEP's Danika Washington lifted the Miners, 15-12, with two kills and a block going into the media timeout. UTEP continued to pace the set coming out of the break with four kills. The set saw back-to-back challenges, one by each coach, all in favor of the Miners. Lovesee and Washington slammed down kills to take the set, 25-17. 

SET THREE | UTEP won the opening the point in the final frame off an ace by Kohler. Tech evened the set at 1- and 6-all, but never gained the lead. Three straight kills by LaCour lifted the Miners to 15-11 going in the first break of the set. UTEP utilized five Tech errors and three kills to stretch the lead heading into match-point. Darley smacked down kill No. 10 to win the match, 25-16. 

"It was a good test for us," head coach Ben Wallis said. "The fun part about playing LA Tech is that they come into the match excited to play and they give you everything they got. Our offense was very complete, and I was pleased with how well we played as LA Tech pushed back and stressed us out especially in the first set." 

UTEP squares off with Middle Tennessee, Oct. 27-28, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. inside Alumni Memorial Gym. 

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

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Rachel Phillips

UTEP Athletics


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