UTSA volleyball goes 1-3 as conference play continues


Kirby Smith starts her spiking motion during the game against UAB on Oct. 8. Over the course of the two-match series, Smith led all ‘Runners with 23 kills. Dustin Vickers/The Paisano

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

UTSA volleyball (6-12, 3-3 C-USA) was in action the past two weekends for their conference openers. The Roadrunners took on the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (10-10, 2-4 C-USA) in a two-match series from Oct. 1-2, and then the UAB Blazers (8-8, 3-1 C-USA) in another two-match series from Oct. 8-9. For UTSA, it was a mixed bag of results as they were summarily dominated in two clean sweeps by Southern Mississippi, but rebounded with a sweep of their own over UAB, before falling back to earth with a close loss in four sets on Oct. 9. 

UTSA kicked things off on Oct. 1, in San Antonio as they squared off against Southern Miss. A closely contested first set was eventually broken wide open midway through by a pair of five-point scoring runs by the Golden Eagles and they took the first set 13-25. A close set two saw Southern Mississippi hold a slim edge over the ‘Runners throughout the set and despite UTSA’s best efforts, they would drop the second set 19-25. The third set saw UTSA come out very strong and they had an opportunity to close out set number three with the score sitting at 24-23. Unfortunately, the Golden Eagles rattled off three straight points to steal the set 24-26 and secure the clean sweep. 

It was more of the same the following day as multiple large scoring runs, notably a six-point scoring run midway through the set, saw the Golden Eagles take the first set 14-25. A back-and-forth second set once again saw a late Southern Mississippi scoring run lead to more Roadrunner frustration as they dropped the set 19-25. The third and final set of the afternoon was close early on as the two teams sat tied at 10-10. Calamity then struck for the ‘Runners, though, as the Golden Eagles went on a 10-point scoring run to take a commanding 10-20 lead, an advantage they would maintain en route to a 16-25 victory in the final set and their second consecutive sweep of UTSA. 

The following weekend though, UTSA came out much stronger against UAB. A closely contested first set saw the ‘Runners hold a slim edge over the Blazers throughout and one final kill by Alison Jennings gave the ‘Runners the first set 25-22. Set two was a similarly tight affair midway through the set, but the ‘Runners unleashed a six-point scoring run and held that advantage till the end with a 25-19 victory in the second set. The third and final set had UTSA trailing early 5-7, but they went on an eight-point run to take a commanding 13-7 lead. UAB fought back with a four-point run to tie the set at 17. UTSA recovered from there and one final kill from Kirby Smith gave the ‘Runners a tight 25-23 final set victory and a 3-0 match victory.

The final game on Oct. 9 did not have the same outcome for the ‘Runners though. A hard fought first set saw UAB hold a slim advantage throughout and a three-point scoring run secured them the first set 25-20. The second set was all-out war, with the ‘Runners desperately trying to tie the match. The set eventually went to deuces and eventually, off the back of three straight UAB attacking errors, UTSA took the second set 31-29. The ‘Runners were unable to continue that momentum in set three, though, as UAB controlled it throughout and never let them get close, eventually taking set three 21-25. Set four was a similar letdown as UAB immediately jumped out to a 0-4 lead and led the entire way, eventually finishing the ‘Runners off 15-25 and taking the match three sets to one.

The ‘Runners will be back in action on the road in Denton from Oct. 21-22, when they take on the University of North Texas Mean Green (11-8, 4-2 C-USA).