UTSA volleyball Goes 1-2 in Season Opener

Luke Lawhorn

The Roadrunners (1-2) are back in action this season after traveling to Tuscaloosa, AL. in the Crimson Tide Invitational on Aug. 26-27. 

The ‘Runners are coming off an 8-16 season, and though they did lose some key athletes, they maintained most of the team, who are now a year older and will show their maturity in conference games. 

UTSA played a familiar opponent in the season opener against Southern Miss, who they went 0-2 against last season. The first set was a back-and-forth match, having 10 different lead changes. However, the ‘Runners lost the set 25-23 and never trailed by more than two. Southern Miss took that momentum into the second set, immediately going up 4-0. Though UTSA kept the score reasonably close, they ended up losing 25-21. Southern Miss did not look back and dominated a majority of the third set. The final was 25-16, with junior Cansu Gunaydin having 11 kills with an ace, while junior Amanda Ifeanyi had 10 kills with three blocks. 

A few hours after going 0-1, the Roadrunners went up against Alabama (2-0) for the second game of the tournament. UTSA again lost 3-0, despite only being outscored 77-68 for all three sets. Freshman Carolina Krueger led the team with eight kills and two blocks, and Gunaydin had six blocks. The ‘Runners, now down 0-2 for the season, had a chance to pick up their first victory the next day. 

The third opponent in the tournament was McNeese State (0-3), who also saw themselves down 0-2 thus far. In the first set, McNeese and UTSA went back-and-forth with runs, with UTSA ultimately winning 25-23. The second set started slowly with errors and no team getting momentum; however, McNeese pulled away to win 25-21, tying the series 1-1. Now playing a 

best-of-five series, the third set became more important. The ‘Runners went up early and maintained a lead until McNeese came back to tie the game at 21. UTSA won three of the next four rallies, winning 25-22 and going up 2-1 in the series. Much like in the previous set, UTSA let McNeese on a run to make the game more competitive, winning by only one. UTSA won four straight rallies to win the set 25-20, and the series 3-1. UTSA outscored McNeese State just 96-90, showing how close these matches were. 

Junior Alicia Coppedge led the team with 15 kills and three blocks, while Gunaydin and freshman Katelyn Krienke recorded nine kills a piece. 

UTSA will now look ahead to the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic on Sept. 2-3 where they will play UTRGV, North Dakota State and Louisiana-Lafayette.