Volleyball Secures Tournament Spot with 3-0 Win over UTEP


Laura Der earned a match-high 22 kills.

Laura Der earned a match-high 22 kills.

Nov. 11, 2012

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Playing in its final regular season match and with conference tournament hopes on the line, Marshall swept UTEP, 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-16), on Senior Day in the Cam Henderson Center.

Two seniors were honored before the match including Katy Schad and Andrea Snipes-Booker. Both are four-year lettermen, while Schad is graduating with a degree in finance and Snipes-Booker is graduating with a degree in criminal justice and psychology.

Marshall improved to 18-12 (8-8 C-USA), while UTEP dropped to 18-12 (10-6 C-USA). The win secured a Conference USA tournament spot and improved the Thundering Herd to the number six seed after Memphis and Houston both took loses in league play on Sunday.

"Our service game came back pretty strong," commented head coach Mitch Jacobs after the victory. "UTEP just didn't look like the team we have seen on tape. You can credit our kids for playing really hard with their backs against the wall, knowing that it could be win or be out of the tournament today. We played as if it was tournament time."

Outside hitter Laura Der produced the most kills by a league player in three sets, earning 22 in the three-game sweep. As the second ranked C-USA player in kills and points, she finished with 26.0 points. She added a .422 hitting percentage, along with a team-high three blocks and two service aces.

The Herd totaled a team hitting percentage of .330 (49 kills, 12 errors, 112 attempts) against the Miners, marking the highest attack percentage against conference opponents this season.

With UTEP being ranked the top team in conference for hitting percentage, Marshall forced the Miners to just a .173 (35 kill, 16 errors, 110 attempts) mark. The Herd defense did not allow a single ace and also earned 6.0 blocks, compared to UTEP's 4.0. Freshman Lauren Legge and Der led with three blocks each.

"They didn't ace us tonight," noted Jacobs. "If you look back at or stats from weeks past when we were really on a roll, we would have five, six, seven or more aces against our opponent. Tonight was more like that serve and pass game. We didn't get ace and they have a few really good servers."

Schad earned her 18th double-double of the season, totaling 10 kills and a match-high 20 digs. Middle blocker Sacha Byous-McConnell followed with eight kills and produced a .429 hitting percentage to go along with two blocks.

Setter Sammie Bane booked 41 assists and seven digs, while libero Dorothy Rahal finished with 13 digs in the back row.

"Our goal was to make the conference tournament," Jacobs said. "And we did that. Now we would like to do something in that tournament positive. It's a long way to go to Tulsa, so let's go there and enjoy the tournament and get after it."

Marshall will next be playing in the Conference USA tournament from November 16-17. Stay tuned to HerdZone.com for announcements on the Herd's first opponent.