The eighth double-double of the season from senior captain Amanda Videmsek (Highland Heights, Ohio / Beaumont School) helped to propel Charlotte volleyball to its first conference win of the season, 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 30-28, 25-10) over visiting UTEP Sunday afternoon in Halton Arena. The win snaps a 10-match losing skid for the Niners and pushes the season record to 11-15, 1-10 in Conference USA. The Miners of UTEP slip to 13-10 overall and 6-5 in the league.
Both teams mounted mini-runs in the first set, with Charlotte getting a 5-1 run to post an 8-4 lead, only to see the Miners get a 6-2 run to take an 11-9 edge. Trailing by three points, Charlotte mounted a 6-2 run and got ahead 19-17. UTEP got to within one, but the 49ers held on to win by four in the late stages. The 49ers hit .225 in the opening set, limiting UTEP to a -.026 mark in the first.
The second set had six ties and three lead changes. UTEP got out to a 6-1 edge in the first set, but Charlotte responded with a 10-3 run to take a 12-9 lead. The set lead changed hands a few times until the Miners finished the set on a 3-1 run to take it and tie the match heading into the intermission. Neither team mounted a lot of offense in the frame, with the defenses limiting the attack. Sophomore libero Michelle Hovey (Raleigh, N.C. / Lighthouse) had 19 digs after the second set, including nine in set number two.
After a 3-1 mini-run in the third, UTEP played with the lead for most of the stanza, until, with a 21-16 lead, Charlotte went on a 5-0 run to tie the frame. After a UTEP timeout, Charlotte won the next two points to make the run 7-0 and grab a 23-21 margin. A UTEP kill by Xitlali Herrera and a Miners service error put Charlotte at set point, 24-22, but a Charlotte attack error and another Herrera kill tied the set at 24. Charlotte had two more match points, at 25-24 and 26-25, but could not answer the UTEP attack and had to stave off a pair of UTEP set points until kills Videmsek and sophomore Carly Ochs (Town and Country, Mo. / St. Joseph’s Academy) at 28-all gave Charlotte the set victory.
That seemed to demoralize the Miners, who allowed Charlotte a 6-0 lead in the fourth, and Charlotte’s strong serve in the frame kept the pressure on and the offense did the rest, with Charlotte hitting .455 in the set, with no errors in 22 attempts for the victory.
Videmsek had a season-high 22 kills and added 10 digs for the team-leading eighth double-double of the season, and her fourth in the last five Charlotte matches. She had only four errors in 43 attempts for a .419 attack percentage. It was the third time she breached 20 kills in a match this season, the second time in conference play. She is just 25 kills away from becoming the 18th student-athlete at Charlotte with 1,000 for her career.
Hovey ended with 31 digs, the third time this year she had had 30 or more, including two of the last three matches. She has catapulted back over the heralded five digs-per-set mark, and her 473 digs this season are the sixth-most in a season for a 49er in school history.
Sophomore setter Britney Leigh Held (Brookfield, Wis. / Brookfield Central HS) logged 49 assists, pushing her season total to 982. She needs just 18 to become the 22nd player in program history with 1,000 assists in a season for Charlotte.
Senior Taylor Cannon (Elizabeth City, N.C. / Camtech HS) added 14 kills for the 49ers, her 12th double-digit kills performance of the season. She also only had four errors to go with 27 attempts for a .370 attack percentage. She has hit .333 or better with 10 or more kills in the three of the last five matches, and seven times this season. Cannon leads the team with a .287 attack percentage this season.
Charlotte also tied the season high with 13 blocks in the match. Cannon led the team with a career-high seven blocks in the match.
Herrera led all players with 26 kills for UTEP. The Miners hit just .065 in the contest.
Charlotte will play a lone conference match next Sunday when they face off at East Carolina at 2 p.m. The home finale will be Senior Night on Friday, November 15 at 7 p.m. against Southern Miss. There will be a men’s basketball game earlier that afternoon at 4 p.m. in Halton Arena, which could impact the start time of the volleyball match.