UTEP Dig Pink volleyball recap

Charlotte volleyball vs. UTEP on Oct. 23

For the third straight game, the Charlotte volleyball team left empty-handed with a 3-0 loss. Their most recent shutout loss came to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Miners in the Dig Pink match on Oct. 23. The loss relegates Charlotte to No. 10 of 11 teams in Conference USA (C-USA).

No. 3 UTEP looked as powerful as the standings imply, sitting 6-2 in conference matches prior to their win against Charlotte. 

First set (27-29)

The 49ers were aided as much by their skill as by UTEP's faults which kept them in the fight. The Miners committed seven service errors in the first set alone, half of their 14 for the match.

Charlotte reached 24 points first, but UTEP was hot on its heels. It took 29 points for the Miners to lock it down to put them up 1-0 in the match.

Second set (23-25)

UTEP started the set strong, holding the 49ers at most to a single-point lead until the last third or outright leading themselves.

The second set was within a two-score game until, after falling behind 16-14, the 49ers took a six-point run to take a 20-16 lead. However, as they reached the last points in the set, UTEP found its footing again. 

Charlotte's lead saw a seven-point swing from 22-18. After scoring only one point to end the set, UTEP won the second 23-25.

Third set (19-25)

A few service errors by the Miners and a reversed play helped give Charlotte an early lead early in the match.

UTEP launched an intense campaign after trailing 8-6 on the scoreboard. Then, between a few Charlotte mistakes and the Miners' tenacity, UTEP took a 14-9 over the Green and White. For the remainder of the match, Charlotte would never regain the lead; at best, they were within two points away from coming up even.

The Miners locked the match away with a solid 25-19 win, knocking Charlotte out in three.

Takeaways

Throughout the match, Charlotte struggled to maintain any lead that they found. The inability to capitalize upon their success in the second set is the most indicative of this, with the seven-point swing denying Charlotte a set only a couple of points away from being won. 

The results include a sizable amount of service faults on the Miners' side, giving Charlotte eight free points with 14 faults total for UTEP and six for the 49ers.

Charlotte's juniors were out in force, with Emani' Foster, Lara Kretschmer and Sophie Whalen standing as the only players to score 10 or more points. Foster led the pack with 11, accounting for 26% of the 42 points scored.

With only five conference matches left, the chances for a winning season are gone for this 8-13 squad. Of the five opponents, all rank above Charlotte—No. 2 Rice, No. 4 UAB and No. 5 North Texas—have winning seasons in C-USA games. At No. 10, the 49ers will have to make great strides to make the top eight and head to the conference championship.

Next up

Charlotte Women's Volleyball goes on the road to face the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m. The match will be available to watch on CUSA.tv for those at home.