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Marian Ovalle enjoys experience with Mexican national volleyball team

Marian Ovalle got used to playing volleyball in front of large, loud crowds as a UTEP player.

She used that experience last week at the NORCECA Final Six tournament in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In her second stint on the Mexican senior national team, the UTEP senior-to-be helped her country to its first bronze medal at the annual event and had a great time doing it.

“It was cool, the people were amazing, the stadium where we played was full of people,” said Ovalle, who is back in her native Juárez at the moment before returning to El Paso for her final beach volleyball season.

“We couldn’t even cheer each other on the court; it was so loud,” she said. “We had lots of emotion and enjoyment because we were doing the sport we love and giving thanks to all the people who were there cheering us.”

The tournament, sponsored by the continental organization NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation), consistently broke attendance records at the Ricardo Arias Volleyball Pavilion, culminating with 7,000 people watching the host Dominican Republic beat the United States for gold on July 1.

Mexico played the U.S., Canada and the Dominican Republic (they beat Canada and lost the other two matches) before its third-place game against Puerto Rico on June 30, which Mexico won 3-1 (26-24, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21). Cuba was also in the six-team tournament.

“This was my second time playing with the senior Mexican national team and I think I did well,” Ovalle said. “I was a little nervous. There are girls on the team more experienced than me and I just wanted to learn from them. But I liked it, it was a great experience.

“If I get the opportunity to come back I’ll do it.”

More: UTEP loses to Wichita State in NIVC volleyball championship match

The 5-foot-10 outside hitter Ovalle is out of indoor volleyball eligibility; her final game there as a Miner was in the championship of the NIVC tournament in December. Ovalle, who transferred to UTEP after being named the national junior college player of the year at New Mexico Military Institute in 2021, still has one beach season remaining at UTEP.

“It’s my last season, I’m really excited,” Ovalle said. “I want to give 100 percent. I have mixed feelings, I don’t want to leave, I want to enjoy everything.”

UTEP beach volleyball 2025

The Miners will begin play in their second beach volleyball season in February. The schedule will be released this fall.

Last season UTEP opened its season at Arizona’s annual tournament on Feb. 24.

UTEP volleyball

UTEP, the national runner-up in the NIVC tournament last season, starts indoor volleyball play with an Aug. 24 home exhibition against Grand Canyon before heading to Utah for a tournament.

The Miners hosts three home tournaments, including hosting its first ever Conference USA Championships Nov. 22-24 at Memorial Gym.

UTEP 2024 indoor volleyball schedule

Home games in bold

Aug. 24 (Sat) Grand Canyon (exhibition)at Utah ClassicAug. 30 (Fri) at UtahAug. 31 (Sat) vs. Green Bay Salt Lake City, UTSept. 1 (Sun) vs. Utah State Salt Lake City, UTBorderland InvitationalSept. 5 (Thu) Air Force vs. Stephen F. AustinSept. 5 (Thu) vs. Southeastern LouisianaSept. 6 (Fri) Southeastern Louisiana vs. Stephen F. AustinSept. 6 (Fri) vs. Home Air ForceSept, 7 (Sat) Southeastern Louisiana vs. Air ForceSept. 7 (Sat) vs. Stephen F. AustinSouth Dakota Classic (Varmillion, S.D.)Sept. 13 (Fri) vs. Iowa StateSept. 14 (Sat) vs. Montana StateSept. 15 (Sun) vs. South DakotaUTEP Southwest ShowdownSept. 20 (Fri) Texas State vs. Texas A&M-CCSept. 20 (Fri) vs. UTRGVSept. 21 (Sat) Texas State vs. UTRGVSept. 21 (Sat) vs. A&M-Corpus ChristiSept. 22 (Sun) vs. Texas State*Sept. 27 (Fri) at FIUSept. 28 (Sat) at FIUOct. 4 (Fri) vs. Sam HoustonOct. 5 (Sat) vs. Sam HoustonOct. 8 (Tue) vs. New Mexico StateOct. 9 (Wed) vs. New Mexico StateOct. 12 (Sat) at Louisiana TechOct. 13 (Sun) at Louisiana Tech RustonOct. 18 (Fri) at Jacksonville StateOct. 19 (Sat) at Jacksonville StateOct. 25 (Fri) vs. Western KentuckyOct. 26 (Sat) vs. Western KentuckyOct. 31 (Thu) vs. Middle TennesseeNov. 1 (Fri) vs. Middle TennesseeNov. 8 (Fri) at LibertyNov. 9 (Sat) at LibertyNov. 15 (Fri) vs. Kennesaw StateNov. 16 (Sat) vs. Kennesaw StateConference USA Championships at UTEPNov. 22 (Fri)-Nov. 24 (Sunday) Conference USA Championships

Bret Bloomquist can be reached at [email protected]; @Bretbloomquist on Twitter.

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