Oct. 26, 2017
RUSTON, La. - The Louisiana Tech women's volleyball team will look to make some noise in the Conference USA standings this week in the Lone Star State, taking on UTEP on Friday at 7 p.m. and UTSA on Sunday at 1 p.m.
After a tough weekend, that ended with a heartbreaking five-set loss to FIU, Tech (6-17, 1-8) will attempt to bounce back with a statement road trip.
In order for that to happen, Tech will need to see duplicate efforts from the FIU match. Senior leader Marta Monne posted a career-best 25 that evening, and is on a bit of a hot streak as of late, notching the double-digit kill mark in six of her last seven contests. Fellow senior Brooke Short also saw a banner game last Sunday, achieving a new career-high in assists with 62 (seventh-most among any C-USA player this season) and chipping in 19 digs for her sixth double-double this season.
Also critical to the Techsters' success has been the consistent performances from some underclassmen in sophomore Madeline Davis and freshmen Gina Cortesi, Carter Mirich, Marie-Helene Verlinden and Alyssa Zucco.
From an offensive perspective, Cortesi and Mirich have stepped up in a big way with each accumulating 160+ kills at this point of their rookie campaigns. On Sunday, Mirich tallied a career-best 21 kills while hitting at one of her most efficient clips of the season (.245).
Defensively, Davis remains a stalwart contributor at the net. Her 88 total blocks far and away lead the team, while her consistent average of 1.00 block per set is 10th best among all league leaders. Zucco has stepped into the starting libero role with relative ease, and has reached the double-digit dig plateau in each of her last four contests.
Verlinden has been a bit of a Swiss army knife this season, contributing in any area the team needs most. The rookie is nearing the 100-kill mark with 78 so far this season, while adding a team-high 23 service aces along with 45 blocks and 38 digs.
Against the Miners (4-18, 1-8 C-USA), Tech will see a team in a similar spot, trying to make a late push for a berth in this year's C-USA Championship. UTEP is coming off a tough week with a pair of losses to league leaders WKU and Rice.
The Miners are led by stellar sophomore Macey Austin, who paces the team with 290 kills. Her 3.54 kills per set are sixth best among all league leaders.
This will be the 16th matchup between the Miners and Lady Techsters, with UTEP holding a slight 8-7 edge. The last time these teams met up was last season, when Tech captured a 3-1 triumph.
Sunday's match against UTSA (7-13, 5-3 C-USA) marks the 10th meeting between the two squads, with UTSA leading the series 7-2. The Roadrunners currently own the fifth-best league record and are led by Biranna McCulloch, whose 3.65 kills per set are fifth best in the conference.
The Lady Techsters will be looking to a similar result to last year's match, as Tech stunned UTSA with just its third conference loss of the season, in a 3-0 sweep.
Both contests this weekend will be streamed live on CUSA.tv ($) and live stats for both matches can be found on the LA Tech Volleyball schedule page. Be sure to follow @LATechVB on Twitter for match updates.
The Last Meeting
October 28, 2016
Aviles Makes History as Volleyball Tops UTEP, 3-1
On a memorable night at the Thomas Assembly Center, Alejandra Aviles (“Lala”) set the program record for digs in a career, while also leading Louisiana Tech to their second conference victory of the season.
The Last Meeting
October 30, 2016
LA Tech Stuns UTSA, 3-0
On Sunday afternoon in the Thomas Assembly Center, Louisiana Tech handed UTSA (16-6, 7-3 C-USA) just their third conference loss of the season in dominating fashion, defeating the Roadrunners in straight sets.