EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- On "Senior Day", the Miners swept Liberty inside Memorial Gym and preserved a perfect record at home (10-0) for the first time in program history to wrap up the regular season. UTEP clinched the No. 4 seed for the Conference USA Championship tournament.
It is the 10th time that UTEP has produced a 20-win season and twice in the Wallis era (last: 2021, 24-8). UTEP improves to 20-8 overall and 11-5 in Conference USA play, while Liberty drops to 15-13 (8-8 CUSA).
"It's always fun to celebrate our seniors and end it with a win," head coach Ben Wallis said. "It's taken us five years to achieve our goal of being undefeated at home and it makes me proud to know that we wrapped up the season with 20-wins which shows that we're doing something right.
"The last piece of the puzzle is going into a conference championship and showing what we're made of. The championship is what we've been working for all year and our team is hungry for it," Wallis said.
UTEP leads CUSA in attendance for the regular season with an average of 1,141 fans per game, an increase of 363 per game from last season.
Torrance Lovesee was zero-error as she connected on 10 kills to hit for .714 on 14 attacks and led the defense with nine digs. Kalia Kohler (20) and Mattie Gantt (11) combined for 75 percent of the teams assists to help the UTEP offense to a .461 hitting clip.
UTEP's all-around performance held the statistical advantage in kills (43-37), hitting percentage (.461 - .187), aces (4-0), and blocks (10-4).
Set-by-Set: UTEP 3, Liberty 0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-20)
SET ONE | Liberty put down three kills to open the match. UTEP's first 10 point on the board came from seven kills, two LU errors and a block. The Flames were first to 15-points heading into the media timeout, 15-14. UTEP knotted the set at 15-all coming out of the break, but took another timeout as Liberty went up 18-15. The Miners pushed an 8:2 run to gain the lead, 23-20. UTEP gave up one last point to the Flames on a service error before putting up its final two points on a LU error and Sakira LaCour/Danika Washington block to take the first set, 25-21.
SET TWO | UTEP had the upper hand for the entire second frame with an early 8-3 lead. Both teams went 1-for-1 for 12 serves with the Miners knocking in pure kills to go up, 15-9, before Liberty took its second timeout of the set. UTEP turned in four-unanswered points approaching set point and after giving up a point to the Flames on a service error, LaCour put down a kill while Lauren Wallace and Kaya Weaver put up a big block to win set two, 25-15.
SET THREE | The final set consisted of 13 tied scores and five lead changes. Liberty grabbed the opening point. The Miners tied the set multiple times and gained the lead off a Washington kill and Kohler ace, 8-7. LU issued a kill and block to regain the lead at 11-10 and again at 14-13. UTEP utilized four Liberty errors to go on a 5:1 run, 18-15. The Miners came up on match point after putting down two kills, two blocks, and a Liberty service error sealed the match win for UTEP, 25-20.
The Miners are set to face Liberty on the opening day of the Conference USA Championship Tournament on Friday, Nov. 17, in Lynchburg, Va., hosted by Liberty.