The Tulsa volleyball squad saw its six-match winning streak come to an end as UTEP defeated the Golden Hurricane 3-2 (17-25, 25-18, 16-26, 27-25, 11-15) on Sunday.
The Golden Hurricane (19-9, 12-2 Conference USA) hit .133, while the Miners (15-11, 9-5 C-USA) hit .236 and tallied 17 blocks against Tulsa. UTEP out-dug TU 86-76, and both teams had 58 assists.
"We knew this was going to be a tough match," commented Head Coach Steven McRoberts. "UTEP took us to five sets at our place last month and they have a good team. We have made a habit of escaping in the fifth set and it finally caught up with us today."
Senior outside hitter Tyler Henderson led the Tulsa attack with 24 kills and hit .319 during the match. Senior outside hitter Diana Silva recorded 15 kills and 13 digs, while junior outside hitter Kellie Culbertson had 13 kills and 15 digs. Culbertson also tallied three service aces.
Senior libero Jessica Adams added 21 digs, while Jordan Clampitt picked up her 11th double-double of the year with 29 assists and 12 digs.
In the first set, Tulsa and UTEP were tied at 10 apiece, but UTEP responded with a 12-3 run to put the game out of reach. The Miners claimed the set 25-17 as they hit .351 in the frame and had four blocks.
Tulsa jumped out of the gates with a 12-4 lead as TU took the set 25-18. The Hurricane hit .290 in the set, and Henderson and Silva combined for 10 kills.
The third set saw 11 ties and six lead changes as UTEP held TU to a -.022 attack percentage. Tulsa was down early, but tied the match up at 15 apiece thanks to a Silva kill. After thetie, UTEP went on a 10-1 run to close out the set 25-16.
The fourth frame also had 11 ties and four lead changes. Tulsa ultimately won the game 27-25 thanks to a set-clinching kill by Culbertson, her seventh of the stanza. Henderson also had seven kills in the frame.
Tulsa had a 7-6 lead in the fifth, but UTEP scored the next five points to take an 11-7 lead. The Miners won the set 15-11 to hand the Hurricane only its second five-set loss of the season.
"Next weekend is huge for us as far as a conference championship is concerned," McRoberts said. "We will get to play the next three weeks at home, so hopefully we can have some good, focused practices and get better."
Tulsa will face Rice on Friday, November 9, at 7 p.m. in the Donald W. Reynolds Center in a match featuring the top two teams in the conference. TU will cap off the weekend celebrating Senior Day when Houston rolls into town on Sunday, November 11 for a 1 p.m. affair.