Nov. 21, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The UTEP volleyball team bowed out of the 2008 Conference USA Volleyball Championship with a 3-0 loss to third-seeded Rice on Friday night at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse in Memphis, Tenn.
"After coming off a match like last night's we should have gone into tonight's match with confidence and ability to play aggressive and unfortunately that wasn't the case," head coach Ken Murphy. "Rice is a good team and if you're playing kind of weak they will capitalize off of that and that's exactly what they did."
The Owls got off to a quick start rolling over the Miners to take a 1-0 lead after the first set. UTEP bounced back in the second set to take the lead early in the set. Effective blocking kept the Miners up until late in the second as Rice menaced fight to knot up the game. The Owls took the lead at 19-18 and the Miners found themselves fighting for a tie. A pair of kills and a Miner miscue gave Rice the 2-0 lead going into the break.
UTEP worked to regain the momentum and confidence gained in set No. 2, but a powerful Owls attack and defense denied the Miners an upset.
"Despite playing a closer match in the second and third sets we were never able to shake off that tentativeness we began the match with," Murphy added. "We were up by two late in the second and that gave them the momentum. It seemed like every time we made good plays we'd make careful plays right after and every time we did that Rice capitalized and made a great play.
"We knew going into the match that if we made it easy for Rice they were going to be outstanding, especially on offense. They were hard to defend and all of their hitters were effective."
Junior outside hitter Amy Sanders led the Miners with nine kills, while Catherine Chavez led the defense with 11 digs.