UTSA Volleyball drops three straight despite valiant efforts


Julia Maenius

UTSA defensive specialist Mia Ybarra digs a ball during a game earlier this season. The junior from San Antonio registered a season high 33 digs last Friday against SMU.

Dalton Hartmann, Assistant Magazine Editor

The UTSA Roadrunner volleyball team took on the SMU Mustangs and the Texas State Bobcats this week. Unfortunately, the Roadrunners were unable to win any of their matches, dropping their record to 2-4 this season. 

On Thursday, Feb. 4, the ‘Runners took to the road to take on SMU (2-0) in back to back games. The first match against the Mustangs started off poorly. UTSA was able to tie up the game at 18 all, but after some attack errors coming from UTSA’s side of the net, SMU was able to get the breakpoint. Once SMU managed to take a two-point lead, UTSA was unable to stop their momentum, ending the game 20-25. 

The next set ended much earlier, with SMU taking the lead early after UTSA was unable to stop SMU’s Hannah Jacobs from getting back to back kills. UTSA was unable to break through the Mustang’s defense when they were given the opportunity, which set up the Mustangs to have a seven-point lead early on. UTSA started to make a comeback late in the match with a three-score run off the backs of Bianca Ejesieme and Alison Jennings. SMU was able to stop the ‘Runners’ push with a kill from Jadyn Bauss, which gave them the needed push to help close out the game, 25-19.

In the final set, UTSA did not come to play. Early into the match, Jadyn Bauss was unable to connect with her hitters which gave three points over to UTSA. With a large lead early on SMU pushed the tempo and went on a six-score run putting the game all but out of reach at 7-19. The set ended 12-25 ending the match 3-0 to the Mustangs. 

In the next match, UTSA showed that they were willing to go the distance, taking SMU all the way to five sets, but the ‘Runners were unable to close out the match. In the first set, both teams were struggling to get the breakpoint needed to blow open the game. With the score being 15-14, with the ‘Runners ahead, Jennings saw the opportunity to take the game with a powerful hit. Now with the game at 16-14, the ‘Runners pushed their lead with a service ace, a kill from Jennings, and a helpful attack error from SMU’s Jacobs. With the score at 19-14, the ‘Runners handily took the set 25-21. 

Just as things were looking good for the ‘Runners, the Mustangs were able to bounce back in the second set. With the game back at 14-15 and both teams looking for an edge, SMU struck off a kill from Jacobs and went on a scoring run. SMU took the set 17-25. 

In the third set, neither team was able to pull away until SMU reached 20 points first. With the score 20-21, Jacobs found another opening to push the lead which let the Mustangs go on an unmatched two-point run. With the score 23-20 and game point only a kill away, UTSA was unable to stop the Mustangs from ending the set, 22-25. 

UTSA took a massive lead early in the fourth set with a seven-point run to go up 7-1. Even with such a lead, the game was still close after SMU was able to go on multiple  unanswered scoring runs. With the game at 19-19, SMU found their way to 20 points first, but was quickly matched by UTSA. After a couple of service errors going the way of the Mustangs, the score was 23-20 in favor of SMU. However, the UTSA defense bent but didn’t break and allowed for Hunter Coppola to get a kill, which started the scoring run that would bring the game to a deuce. With the score at 25-25, UTSA found their opening. After a kill from Coppola and a block from Ejesiemi and Jessica Langridge, the ‘Runners forced a fifth set with a 27-25 win. 

Unfortunately for the ‘Runners, it seemed that their magic had run out. The fifth set came just as fast as it went, with nothing too notable coming from it. The ‘Runners fell behind early and were unable to make up the points. The final set ended 8-15, finishing the match 2-3 for the Mustangs. 

After back to back losses for the ‘Runners, they were looking to make a statement against the Texas State Bobcats. The first set was back and forth, with the ‘Runners finding the better end of it early, but quickly matched by the Bobcats. Early on, the ‘Runners found a four-point scoring run after Kirby Smith’s kill, followed up by kills from Coppola and Jennings. With the score 17-14, the Bobcats tied up the score 17-17 after kills from Lauren Teske and Tyeranee Scott. Even though UTSA was able to get to 20 points first, Texas State managed to push past them after a service error from Smith followed up by a kill from Janell Fitzgerald, which ended the game 25-23. 

In the second set, the Bobcats controlled the entire time, never letting the ‘Runners get more than a two-point run after the first couple points. With such a dominant game from the Bobcats, the ‘Runners were going to need to find their opening to get back into this match, 25-21. Just as the Bobcats were looking for the 0-3 sweep, the ‘Runners found their way into the game in the third set. 

With the score remaining tight throughout the set and the Bobcats getting to 20 points first, UTSA found their opening off a service error from Texas State. With the score 21-20, UTSA found Smith for a kill, picked up a service ace from Michelle Foster, and got a block from Ejesieme and Courtney Walters. Even with their scoring run, the Bobcats managed to force a deuce, but after a kill from Smith and a service ace from Kayla Granado, UTSA managed to take the set, 24-26. 

With the game on the line, the ‘Runners were unable to stop the Bobcats from going on multiple scoring runs. The fourth set had the ‘Runners leading 12-17, but after multiple service errors and capitalization from the Bobcats to go on multiple scoring runs, the Bobcats took a commanding lead. The Bobcats held on from there and the fourth set ended 25-22 Bobcats, handing them the match victory by a score of 3-1 Bobcats. 

After suffering three losses in a row, the ‘Runners are looking to break their streak against the North Texas Eagles (1-4). The two matches will begin UTSA’s Conference USA slate for the season at the Convocation Center on Feb. 14-15, at 1 p.m.