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OU Volleyball ready to receive the serve from Ball State University on Nov. 11th, 2022 in the Convo. in Athens, Ohio.

Volleyball: Ohio plays first match at home against UTEP in Bobcat Invitational match

For the first time in 2023, Ohio (4-2, 0-0 Mid-American Conference) will take the court at The Convo as it leads off the 27th Bobcat Invitational. The first opponent for Ohio on its home floor will be the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) (4-1, 0-0 Conference USA). Historically speaking, Ohio has gone 47-32 overall in past iterations of the Bobcat Invitational while head coach Geoff Carlston has fared well, going 7-1. 

Match information:

Date and time: Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m.

Location: The Convocation Center, Athens, Ohio

Watch live here on ESPN+

Live stats will be found her

UTEP Scouting Report: 

UTEP is a program that, like Ohio, is learning how to manage expectations. Tabbed as the projected No. 2 team in C-USA, UTEP has gotten off to a very solid start to the season, winning four of its first five. Last weekend, it hosted a weekend invitational of its own, sharing the honors with New Mexico State, its rival. UTEP has had a very positive start to the season as in its first five matches, it has only lost a total of seven sets.

Led by head coach Ben Wallis, who has accumulated a 68-44 record since being given the reins of the program in 2018. The offense for UTEP has been rather effective this season as it is outhitting its opponents 0.269 to 0.194. The oddity that lies with the UTEP offense is the fact that it has done this on far fewer attempts compared to its opponents. Moreover, UTEP has specialized in not making mistakes. It only has made 87 attack errors on the season. 

One spot where the Miners have struggled is with serving. While they have more service aces than their opponents thus far, they also have nearly double the amount of service errors with 50 compared to their opponents’ 29. Another area in which the Miners have been subpar has been in block solos, however, they make up for it by not allowing very many blocks for an opposition. 

While a rather confounding team on paper, UTEP is a rather tough challenge due to the way that it has been able to find its way to win matches during the early part of the season. One thing that it will have to navigate for the first time will be leaving Mountain Standard Time, a two hour difference that it will have to overcome and play at its best. 

Player to watch: Alianza Darley

Darley is an outside hitter/middle blocker for the Miners and has established herself as one of the best players not only on the team but in the conference as well. She was named to the preseason C-USA team for the second season in a row after landing on the All-Conference team for the second season in a row. She is a maven at collecting blocks as she recorded 126 last season, 13 of which were solo. Additionally, she hit .300 or better ten times last season. 

This year, she has gotten off to a bit of a slow start in terms of blocks , but, like her teammates, has been able to cut down on some of the errors, albeit at the expense of some of her other individual stats, like kills, assists and points. Darley’s complete skill set makes her a threat for any opposing defense but will create an interesting matchup with the Bobcats as they have been very effective when it comes to getting kills by blockers this season. 


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