Southeastern drops home opener to UTEP, Lady Lions’ midseason slump continues


Troy Allen

Senior beach volleyball player and Hammond native Eryn Wilks performs a bump during SLU’s 3-2 defeat to UTEP Wednesday at the Southeastern Beach Volleyball Complex. (March 15, 2023)

The Lady Lions dropped their home opener to the UTEP Miners 3-2. They fell to 4-10 on the season with a 1-3 Southland Conference record. 

SLU is now in a slump halfway through the season. Over their last nine games, they are 1-8. Their last win came against San Jose State on March 12 in a narrow 3-2 victory. 

“We weren’t aggressive and played timidly. For the most part, we built a little confidence, but we must be better mentally and emotionally,” Head Coach Jeremy White said. 

Freshman Mia McKinney and senior Jolie Hidalgo kicked off the game with a 21-11 win in the first set. UTEP’s Ema Uskokvic and Sara Pushtahija played the second set closer; however, the Lady Lions still pulled out a close 22-20 win. 

During the second match, UTEP won 2-1. Each set was decided by three points or less (21-18, 19-21, 15-12). The third period saw SLU outscored by 20 points, and the Miners took a 2-1 lead.

Freshmen Carley Petty and Alexis Logarbo came up big late in the game. They opened up their match with a dominant 21-10 set win, which gave them enough momentum to close out the second set, 21-19. 

Into the fourth match, Southeastern came up flat with a 21-11 loss; however, they bounced back during the second set with a 21-16 win. Senior Mabry Ward scored the last three points for Southeastern to stave off UTEP. 

The Miners started off the final set of the day with a 9-2 run. The Green and Gold responded with a 4-0 run to make it a three-point game. From then on out, it was a back-and-forth affair between the two teams. 

Ultimately, UTEP ended up with a 15-12 win in the final set to win 3-2 over Southeastern. Following their loss, Southeastern dropped to the sixth spot in the Southland Conference standings. 

“I love to see us play with a little attitude and force our will on the other team. I’m a big believer in dictating the course of the game and pushing the other team to play beach volleyball the way we want to,” White said. 

The Lady Lions will hit the road to Youngsville to play at Sugar Beach tomorrow. They will face off against SLC rival Nicholls at 11 a.m. 

The Green and Gold return home on March 28, when they play William Carey at the Southeastern Beach Volleyball Complex. 

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