UTSA volleyball returns home with a three-game sweep

Maddie Cortez, Staff Writer

The Roadrunners (1-5) traveled to the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 2-3. They faced, and ultimately lost, to each opponent. Joined to battle our ‘Runners were The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros (6-1), North Dakota State University Bisons (4-2) and Louisiana Ragin Cajuns (4-2). 

UTSA started the classic with a battle against UTRGV, managing to only reach three sets. The Vaqueros started the fire as they opened the game with a three-point run to have UTSA’s Caroline Krueger respond with an ace — breaking the Vaqueros’ scoring run. After both teams exchanged efforted points, Katelyn Krienke initiated the five-point lead that secured UTSA the upper hand in the first half of the set, making the score 13-10. UTRGV quickly returned the energy with a four-point stretch, however, Krueger tied the set 15-15 with two scoring kills. With efforts high, UTRGV reached a score of 20-16 which prevented the Roadrunners from catching up in the end. The first set ended 22-25. 

Maintaining the competition, the first set was followed with both teams matching the first five points. The Vaqueros and ‘Runners tied six more times until the Vaqueros finished the second set with a winning kill, making the set score, 26-24. 

The final set started with spirit, going hand-to-hand with kills, errors and aces. The dynamic of the third set shifted when the Vaqueros claimed four consecutive kills which created a six-point lead for the Roadrunners. Both teams continued to fight, but UTRGV ultimately won the third and final set with a score of 25-19. 

The second game of the day was a battle against the North Dakota Bisons which didn’t favor our Roadrunners. The first set started with a back-and-forth theme and by the middle of the game, NDSU was up 14-10. Firing back, UTSA matched their effort and tied 14-14. A timeout was called by North Dakota, and this was all they needed to return and respond with a five-point run that led them to a winning set score of 25-19. 

The Roadrunners gained momentum in the second set starting with a five-point lead but had their effort stripped when NDSU claimed the lead and later advanced 13-9. NDSU collected two more scoring runs which secured their second set win of 25-20. Entering the game’s final round, UTSA and NDSU battled it out, but efforts mirrored the previous sets. The Roadrunners lost the set, 25-21, and the game 3-0. 

Looking for redemption going into day two of the classic, the ‘Runners fought to bring the Ragin’ Cajuns to five sets, leaving the court with their third tournament loss. UTSA claimed sets two and four, but ultimately lost sets one, three, and five. 

Although our Roadrunners came up short over the weekend, there are players still worth noting for their efforts. On offense, Cansu Gunaydin, a third-year outside hitter, led the tournament for most kills and points in a game, which assisted her team with many scoring runs. Third-year middle blocker Amanda Ifeanyi also had an impressive performance over the weekend as she claimed an impressive 28 kills throughout the tournament. Mia Ybarra and Ava Camacho led the ‘Runner’s defense this weekend: Ybarra secured 40 total digs and Camacho reached 27. 

You can find the Roadrunners playing their next tournament on San Antonio soil at the UTSA Invitational presented by Courtyard Marriott at The Rim. Our ‘Runners will take on the McNeese State Cowgirls (1-5), South Florida Bulls (4-2) and UT Arlington Mavericks (2-4) from Sept. 9-10.