RUSTON, La. –
Despite a career high 22 kills from freshman outside hitter Lara Hendricks
, the Louisiana Tech volleyball team fell by a 3-1 (16-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23) decision to the visiting UTEP Miners on Friday evening from the Thomas Assembly Center.
LA Tech (6-17, 1-7 C-USA) saw an impressive individual performance from the freshman Hendricks, as she topped her previous season high of 20 kills. After recording just one kill in the first frame, Hendricks rose to the occasion in set number two, and kept Tech within striking distance, while racking up 10 kills in the second frame alone.
Tech setter Abigail Hildenbrand
finished the match with a team-best 45 assists – her third-most of the season, and the sixth time the freshman has finished with 40+ assists in a match this year. Junior Jayde Penn
started on the left side, and contributed a season-best seven kills.
Fellow junior Madeline Davis
finished the match with nine kills and six total blocks. Davis has now recorded five or more blocks in nine of Tech's 23 contests so far in 2018, and continues to lead the team with 80.0 total blocks on the season.
Sophomore Carter Mirich
and junior Kaitlyn Adams
both contributed nine kills each. Mirich also tallied eight digs, while Adams led the team in hitting percentage at .562 (9-0-16). Starting junior libero Alyssa Zucco
registered a team-best 21 digs – her fourth 20+ dig performance of the season. Freshman Jordyn Carswell
added double-digit digs (11) off the bench for the Lady Techsters.
The Lady Techsters out-killed the Miners 59-49 on the evening, but Tech committed 41 errors, including 11 from behind the service line, while the Miners committed 35 of their own.
UTEP (4-16, 1-7 C-USA) was led offensively by Macey Austin's 16 kills, while Cheyenne Jones chipped in 11 of her own.
Tech put together an impressive performance in the first set, holding the Miners to a -.020 hitting percentage. With a 15-12 lead midway through the frame, Tech put together a commanding 7-0 run to take its largest lead of the night at 22-12. The Techsters closed out the frame, taking three of the final six points, as a thunderous kill from Mirich gave Tech the 25-16 triumph.
In set two, the Miners turned the tables on the momentum of the match, leading for all but three points of the second set. Tech never trailed by more than five, but UTEP kept the Techsters at arm's length, and escaped with a 25-23 win, evening the match at two.
The third set consisted of seven ties and four separate lead changes, as neither team mounted a lead larger than five for the entirety of the frame. Tech trailed by five at 21-16, but secured five of the next six points, cutting the Miner lead down to two at 22-20. However, UTEP utilized a Jones kill along with a kill from Martine Kragholm to seal the set, 25-22.
The fourth set proved to be the most competitive of the evening, as the lead changed hands a total of nine times and the teams drew even on 14 separate occasions. The set went back and forth down to a 23-23 tie before a pair of Miner kills closed out the set and the match.
LA Tech will head back out on the road this Sunday, taking on the Rice Owls (16-4, 7-0 C-USA). First serve is set for 1 p.m. from Tudor Fieldhouse.
Be sure to follow @LATechVB on all social media platforms for in-match updates, breaking news and other items of interest on the 2018 LA Tech Volleyball Team.