NEW ORLEANS, La. – The UTEP volleyball team opened the 2018 season with a 3-1 victory over Incarnate Word Friday morning on the first day of the Tulane Volleyball I-10 Challenge.
Macey Austin produced a match-high 23 kills, and Cheyenne Jones contributed another 14 to the Miner offense. Freshman Kristen Fritsche, in her career-debut, posted match highs in assists (44) and digs (15). Norwegian freshman Martine Kragholm showed off her athleticism and talent earning the first five kills of her career.
In the first set, UTEP stormed out to a 6-0 lead over the Cardinals. UIW closed the gap to get within one point of the Miners, but UTEP maintained its performance and finished the wire-to-wire set victory, 25-19. Jones and Austin combined for 10 kills in the set.
The second set was tied up at 12 points after Briana Arellano locked in a kill for the Miners. UIW would seize control and take the set 25-21, knotting the set count up at one a piece.
Austin recorded a powerful kill, tying the third set at eight points each. The Miners went off on a 10-0 run to take control. Austin’s eight kills capped off a dominant team performance, which gave the Orange and Blue a 2-1 set advantage.
The fourth set gave Fritsche an opportunity to show off her ability to set up teammates when she notched 16 assists. Niki Cebak helped on the defensive effort adding five digs to the mix. Arellano produced the match point with one of her 10 kills on the day, earning the 25-19 victory for the Miners.
>>> First season-opener victory for the Miners since the 2011 season
>>> UTEP maintains a perfect 4-0 series record over Incarnate Word
>>> Macey Austin recorded her 650th kill of her career
>>> Cheyenne Jones surpassed the 200-kills career mark
>>> Kylie Baumgartner notched two total blocks, bringing her total to 315. She now ranks eighth all-time in program history