Volleyball drops heartbreaker to UTEP, 3-2
Sophomore Niatha Cullen tallied 14 kills and 14 digs in the 3-2 loss to UTEP
Sophomore Niatha Cullen tallied 14 kills and 14 digs in the 3-2 loss to UTEP
Despite seeing four players record double-digit kills, the JU volleyball team fell in five sets to UTEP (20-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 8-15) on Saturday in the Towne Place Suites/UCF Challenge.

The Miners (10-4) earned the win on the heels on an 18-kill performance by Xitlali Herrera. Jeane Horton and Bridget Logan each tallied 10 kills to help the cause.

“We just fell a little short,” JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg said. “We fell behind early, but our team battled with them the rest of the way. I want us to use some of the good areas from today in tomorrow’s match against Troy.”

Sophomore Niatha Cullen tallied 14 kills and 14 digs to lead the Dolphins (7-7), while senior Alliya Drzewiecki finished with 13. Junior Alison Loeppky and sophomore Alyssa Robertson also added 11 kills.

In the first set, the Miners took a 6-4 lead from a kill by Herrera. Cullen tallied a kill to make it a 10-9 JU deficit, but she later recorded an attack error which capped an 8-4 UTEP stretch for an 18-13 advantage. After the Dolphins made it 20-16 on an error, the Miners scored five of the next nine points to secure the set.

In the second set, blocks by sophomores Kylie Jacob and Kendall Courtney ended an 11-5 run to give JU a 20-14 lead. Two late Herrera kills kept the Miners within three points, but Robertson recorded a kill to give JU the set.

After falling in the third set, the Dolphins battled tough in the fourth frame with the Miners until taking a 23-21 lead on kills by Drzewiecki and Cullen. UTEP made it 24-23 on two JU errors, but Cullen recorded a kill to force a deciding set.

In the fifth set, the Miners used a 5-1 run, capped on an attack error, for a 7-3 lead. The Dolphins closed the gap to 10-8 on a UTEP error. JU shot themselves in the foot the rest of the way with three attack errors to allow UTEP to take the win.

The Dolphins finish the weekend tomorrow against former A-Sun foe Troy in Swisher Gymnasium at 5 p.m. Fans can follow the action through live stats or video streaming on A-Sun.TV by logging onto