Volleyball begins conference play with sweep


Courtney Walters blocks a shot during this weekend’s series against LA Tech. Walters recorded four blocks in Friday’s victory. Dalton Hartmann/The Paisano

Julia Maenius, Assistant Sports Editor

The UTSA volleyball team (4-9, C-USA 1-0) began conference play this past weekend, Sept. 24-25, with a two-game sweep of Louisiana Tech (6-10, C-USA 0-2) in the Convocation Center. The Roadrunners claimed the first match with a 3-0 victory and the second with a 3-1 win. 

The Conference USA (C-USA) opener for the ‘Runners was Friday, Sept. 24. LA Tech opened the first set of the match with an early 3-1 lead, forcing two UTSA mistakes. The ‘Runners trailed the Lady Techsters for the beginning of the first set before the score was tied at 13-13. Senior outside hitter Kirby Smith fueled the offensive attack with a double-double of 15 kills and 11 digs. Taking a 15-14 lead off kills from Smith and two LA Tech miscues, the ‘Runners did not let up on the lead. Tied at 24-24 and trading points, four kills gave the ‘Runners a 30-28 advantage and a first set win. 

Jumping ahead early, five Lady Techster errors boosted UTSA ahead 10-7. UTSA’s front line recorded 14 kills in the second set. A 3-0 kill streak fueled a 15-8 lead for the ‘Runners. Junior setter Courtney Walters was the second ‘Runner to record a double-double in the match with 11 digs and 30 assists. Four kills from Smith led UTSA to a 20-13 lead before a service error from LA Tech closed the set 25-19.

A 5-1 run opened the third set and gave the ‘Runners an early advantage. Four kills from the UTSA side of the net allowed the ‘Runners to increase the lead to a 10-6 advantage. Two 4-0 runs propelled the ‘Runners ahead by a larger margin of 15-9. Multiple scoring runs gave UTSA a lead that was unresponsive from the Lady Techsters. At 20-15, three kills and four LA Tech errors gave the ‘Runners their first home win in C-USA play with a final set score of 25-17.

The second match of the weekend for the ‘Runners led to a back-to-back win in the record books. Opening the first set with a 5-1 lead, UTSA was able to gain the advantage from multiple scoring runs. Smith led the match with 14 kills, two aces, three blocks and 13 digs. A 6-3 run gave the ‘Runners the 25-15 advantage for the first set. 

A 3-3 tie score opened the second set. The ‘Runners then turned around to gain the advantage off a 9-0 run fueled by six Lady Techster errors (11-3). Maintaining the lead at 16-13, a 6-0 scoring run gave UTSA the advantage to take the set 25-15.

Four LA Tech scoring runs in the third set fueled a 25-22 win for the Lady Techsters, the only set the team would claim all weekend.

After forcing a majority of Lady Techster errors early in the fourth set, the score was tied 9-9 before a seven-point run was made by UTSA with three kills from sophomore middle Amanda Ifeanyi (16-9). Furthering the lead by forcing three LA Tech errors, the ‘Runners created a nine-point deficit at 21-12. UTSA claimed the fourth set and match with a 25-13 win. 

The ‘Runners will be back in action on the road to Hattiesburg, Miss. Oct. 1-2 to face Southern Miss (8-8, C-USA 0-2) for the second matchup of C-USA play.