By Nathaniel Mata | Sports Editor
After 13 straight road games, UTRGV was finally in front of its home crowd tonight. More than 1,050 attendees came out to see the Vaqueros sweep the Prairie View A&M University Panthers.
The Vaqueros won by set scores of 25-18, 25-12 and 25-13. Their overall record is now 9-5.
In set one, Prairie View, whose overall record is now 1-9, took a small 5-1 lead while UTRGV went through a bit of a slow start. Being behind didn’t last long for the Vaqueros. Head Coach Todd Lowery complimented his team’s play after the early part of set one.
“I like that we got those jitters out tonight instead of Thursday night,” Lowery said. “I like that we got over that and we really settled in. We didn’t make very many mistakes, and that’s something we’ve been trying to clean up the last two tournaments.”
The first match continued close until the score of 10-10. After that point, UTRGV closed out the set with a 15-8 run.
In the last two sets, it was UTRGV imposing its will over the Panthers.
Alisha Watson had a strong second set, getting most of her 11 kills in that frame.
Also filling the stat sheet was Barbara Silva, with five blocks and seven kills. The freshman from Brazil said the home crowd may have caused the team to make mistakes early, but it was still a positive experience.
“I think everybody was really excited in the first set and probably the excitement turned to some mistakes we shouldn’t be doing, but then we started focusing and paying attention and everything was fine,” Silva said. “Wow. For me, it was like a big deal. I was super excited. Every game here is a new thing for me and it’s pretty good.”
In the sweep, senior libero Dacosta Fatoumata tallied 18 digs and was a big part of the defensive game, helping transition the Vaqueros into potent offense.
Fatoumata said she was glad to get in front of the crowd at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
“Yeah, it was pretty weird in the beginning because we haven’t been playing here in a while, but it’s good to be home and see all these people coming to watch us play so it’s really nice,” she said.
Fatoumata said she’s ready to get the WAC games started later this week.
“I think we already have enough of [non-conference] games,” she said. “I think we are ready to play in conference games, so we’re fine.”
WAC play gets underway at 7 p.m. Thursday as Utah Valley University comes to town. The Vaqueros will also host Seattle University at noon Saturday.