UTSA Volleyball set for home opener after three losses


Julia Maenius/The Paisano

Bianca Ejesieme spikes a ball during a game last season against UIW. Ejesieme has appeared in six games for UTSA this season and is currently averaging six kills a match.

Julia Maenius, Assistant Sports Editor

The UTSA volleyball team (3-9) suffered three losses at the Marquette Invitational last weekend. Winning three sets on the weekend, the Roadrunners faced Marquette University, Northern Iowa and Wright State, dropping all three matches.

Kicking off the weekend, UTSA faced the Marquette Golden Eagles on Friday, Sept. 17. Marquette jumped to an early 7-2 lead in the first set. After a 3-0 scoring run, UTSA was able to draw within three points of the Golden Eagles at 15-18 before the Marquette front line recorded five more kills to claim the set 25-18. The second set of the match was a quick win for the Golden Eagles. Scoring 10 of the first 15 points from six kills and two aces, Marquette led the way for the entirety of the set. Unable to regain their footing from three back-to-back three-point scoring runs, the ‘Runners trailed 12-25 in the second set. Continuing the trend, Marquette took a 7-1 lead in the third set. UTSA began closing the gap with multiple kills before the Golden Eagles went on a 6-0 scoring run to close the set 25-17 and take the match 3-0.

The ‘Runners then faced the Northern Iowa Panthers (5-8) in a four-set matchup. Trading points at the start of the first set, UTSA tied the score at 15-15 with a kill from outside hitter Kirby Smith. Four UTSA kills kept them in the game, tied once again at 20-20. The Panthers secured a 3-0 run at the end of the set to claim the match 25-23. Taking a 12-8 lead fueled by a six-point scoring run, UTSA remained ahead in the second set. Outside hitter Hunter Coppola led the team in kills for both matches with 27. Three kills from Smith led the ‘Runners’ to a 25-22 win. The final two sets of the match saw the lead be traded back and forth between the Panthers and the ‘Runners. Northern Iowa claimed the third and fourth sets 25-22 and 25-19, respectively.

The third and final match of the weekend saw a five set match for the ‘Runners and Wright State. Fueled by a 6-0 run, UTSA tied the match 12-12. Taking the lead, the ‘Runners remained ahead until Wright State tied the set at 16-16. Hot off a 10-1 scoring run, Wright State took the first set 25-17. Taking a seven point lead early in the second set, UTSA led the set 15-8. Maintaining the lead with a 5-0 scoring run, UTSA finished the set 25-14 with back-to-back kills. Trading points back-and-forth until tied at 19-19, Wright State claimed the third set with a 6-0 scoring run and a UTSA hitting error, 25-21. Tied at 10-10 in the fourth, Wright State took a 15-10 lead from a five-point run. Turning around with a five-point run of their own, the ‘Runners tied the set up at 16-16. A 7-0 run from UTSA’s side of the net pushed them ahead 23-17 and won the fourth set 25-20 from two kills. Opening the fifth and final set, Wright State gained the lead with a two-point and three-point scoring run, 8-6. A final 5-0 scoring run gave the match to Wright State, ending the set 15-11 and the match 3-2.

The ‘Runners will be back in action to host their home opener with Conference USA foe Louisiana Tech (6-8) Friday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 25 at 12 p.m.