Outside hitter Kendra Rowland recorded a double-double of 17 kills and 15 digs as UTSA held off North Texas in five sets (25-23, 25-17, 23-25, 16-25, 15-12) in the season opener for both teams on Friday at the Mean Green Classic.
The preseason first-team All-Southland Conference performer led three Roadrunners who racked up double-digit winners and was one of four with collected 12 or more digs. The Antioch, Calif., native also posted four block assists and a pair of service aces.
The Roadrunners jumped out to an early 1-0 lead by using runs of 8-0 and 8-1 in the first set. UTSA then found itself in a 19-11 hole in the next frame, but the Birds used an 11-2 run to take their first lead and closed out the stanza for a commanding 2-0 advantage.
However, the Mean Green did not go down without a fight, leading the next two sets wire to wire to force a fifth-and-deciding frame.
After the two teams exchanged leads through the first 10 points, the Roadrunners took command with a 5-1 run to go up 10-6. North Texas pulled within a pair two points later, but that would be the closest it would get the rest of the way, as UTSA held on for its first season-opening win since 2006.
The Roadrunners received solid contributions from middle hitters Briana Mason and Stefanie Robbins. Mason had 13 kills and a team-leading total of five blocks. Meanwhile, Robbins added a dozen winners on the strength of a squad-best .333 hitting percentage.
Defensively, setter Amber Brooks picked up a team-high 16 digs to go along with her 52 assists. Megan Schauffele matched Brooks with 16 digs and 2008 Southland Libero of the Year Kelsey Jewasko contributed a dozen.
Amy Huddleston led the Mean Green with 13 kills, while Rachelle Wilson had 10 winners and eight blocks.
The victory pulled eighth-year head coach Laura Neugebauer-Groff within one victory of Dave Hawk’s school record total of 113 set from 1989-95.
UTSA concludes tournament play with a pair of matches on Saturday.
The Roadrunners take on Northern Colorado (2-0) at 10 a.m. followed by a 4:30 p.m. matchup against SMU (0-2).