Volleyball Downs UTEP 3-1
Nov. 8, 2008
EL PASO, Texas - Carried by three double-digit kill and three double-digit digs performances, along with solid outside hitting, the University of Tulsa volleyball team defeated UTEP 3-1 (25-16, 27-25, 17-25, 25-15) in a Conference USA match Friday evening at Memorial Gym.
The Golden Hurricane (21-8, 8-6 C-USA) is now tied for fourth place in the C-USA standings with Memphis and Houston. All three teams have two matches remaining. UTEP, with the loss, falls to 6-21 overall and 2-11 in the league.
"It was without question an extremely solid effort on both sides," Tulsa head coach Ed Allen said. "UTEP played an extremely, extremely hard match. We had great ball control and gave a great defensive effort. All six players played very well, with only a small breakdown. Rachel (Vukson) made some very good decisions with her sets. We were consistent in all facets of our play."
Senior outside hitter Beth Hodge recorded her 13th double-double of the season with 18 kills and 14 digs and hit a .395 attack percentage, while junior outside hitter Jennifer Eichler added 15 kills with a .394 percentage, and sophomore outside hitter Emma Ridley contributed 11 kills in her first action since Oct. 17. Freshman setter Rachel Vukson tallied 47 assists.
Defensively, senior libero Malorey Grove recorded 18 digs and senior defensive specialist Kelsey Wood tallied 11 digs. Three players - Eichler, junior middle hitter Julia Kenealy and sophomore middle hitter Hannah Stout - blocked five attacks, all block assists, as part of a 10-block team effort.
As a team, Tulsa hit a .284 attack percentage, with 54 kills and 14 errors in 141 total attempts. UTEP hit a .142 attack percentage with 52 kills and 28 errors in 169 total attempts.
"I very much enjoyed the heart and determination with which the kids played. It was what we expect to see on a daily basis," Allen said.
The Golden Hurricane dominated the first set, taking a 2-0 lead on a pair of UTEP attack errors and did not lose its lead in the set. TU extended its lead to 9-3 on a pair of kills by Eichler and Ridley. Following a UTEP timeout, Tulsa scored six points to the Miners' two, further extending its lead to 15-6. After another timeout, Tulsa continued its run, taking a 17-6 lead on a service ace by Grove. From there, Tulsa scored its final seven points to UTEP's 10 to win the set, scoring the final two points on a kill by Stout and one by Hodge.
In the second set, Tulsa got off to a good start on a block by Eichler and Kenealy and a kill by Eichler for a 2-0 lead. UTEP tied the score at four apiece, and the teams traded points for the remainder of the second set. UTEP gained a 12-10 advantage, but never held a larger lead, and Tulsa's biggest lead was at 22-19, though that did not last long. The Miners fought back to tie the score at 23-23 and the teams traded points until TU took advantage of a UTEP attack error and followed it with a Hodge kill to win the set 27-25. The second set featured 12 ties and six lead changes.
The Golden Hurricane began the third straight set with a 2-0 lead on a kill by Hodge and a UTEP setting error. However, TU could not do much else in the set and was unable to put the match away in three. UTEP took the lead, and built it to a 14-7 advantage when Tulsa took its second timeout of the set. Down seven points, the Hurricane tried to fight back into the set, but it was not enough and UTEP won the third set 25-17.
Tulsa finally closed the deal in the fourth set, and its performance was as dominating as its play in the opening frame. This time, the Golden Hurricane tripled its initial lead, scoring the first six points carried by the service of Vukson, including an ace, one kill each by Hodge, Eichler, Kenealy, and a pair of UTEP attack errors. TU built its lead to 15-3 using a kill by Kenealy, two kills by Eichler and four kills by Ridley. UTEP used a mini-run to close the score to 18-10, but Tulsa scored seven of the final 12 points, including the final kill by Stout to win the set 25-15 and the match by a 3-1 score.
The Golden Hurricane plays Sunday at 1 p.m. at Tulane in its final road match of the season, before returning home for the regular season finale Sunday, Nov. 16 against SMU. All Tulsa home volleyball matches are free to the public. All Golden Hurricane news and information can be found on the web at www.TulsaHurricane.com.
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