UTSA Volleyball goes 2-1 in 2022 home-opener

Chloe Williams, Web and Social Editor

Coming off of a 3-game loss last weekend at the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic, UTSA Volleyball (3-6) hosted their first home tournament of the season, the UTSA Invitational presented by Courtyard Marriott at The Rim. The ‘Runners faced off against McNeese State (2-8), University of South Florida (4-5) and UT Arlington (5-4). 

In their first set of the tournament, UTSA took on the McNeese State Cowgirls. Set one started off rocky with neither team establishing more than a few-point lead. The ‘Runners finally gathered their momentum, and with the help of consistent serving by Libero Ava Camacho, they established a 5-point lead 16-11 and used it to carry themselves to the set victory 25-18. 

Set two started out similarly with a minor lead going back and forth. The ‘Runners momentum slowed and McNeese pulled ahead. At just the right time, the Roadrunners pulled it together and finished the set off with a win 25-23. 

UTSA took charge at the beginning of the third set but lost the lead halfway through, losing 20-25. 

In the fourth set of the match, they still remained positive and developed a lead right off the bat. In the end, they did not come through and blew a 7-point lead; the Cowgirls used the drive and inevitably took the set 23-25. 

The fifth set started off strong with a 7-1 lead in UTSA’s favor. Despite McNeese’s efforts, UTSA took the set 15-8 and the game 3-2 with freshman middle blocker Katelyn Krienke leading at 20 kills and senior setter Courtney Walters setting a career-high at 60 assists. 

A couple of hours later, the Roadrunners returned to challenge the University of South Florida (USF) Bulls. In set one, UTSA established a lead from the start, and at one point, led by 10. Despite USF’s last-minute attempts to close the gap, UTSA took the win 25-17. 

The second set went similarly with the Roadrunners taking the win 25-15. 

While USF seemed to have woken up in the third set it was a little too late, and their measures went unrecognized as the ‘Runners took the win again with 25-23. Junior outside hitter Kelsey Carpenter led the game with 11 kills and two aces. 

Going into the second day of the tournament off of two wins, the ‘Runners began to maintain their success in the match against the UT Arlington Mavericks. With a lead initiated by Libero Ava Camacho’s consistent service throughout, UTSA swiftly took the first set 25-17. 

Set two started out rocky with back-and-forth service from each team, UTSA managed to develop a lead 24-21 but was one point shy from victory. The Mavericks caught back up tying the set at 24-24. Finally, a kill by outside hitter Katelyn Krienke shut down the Mavericks and finished the second set in favor of UTSA 27-25. 

With a trend evident in UTSA’s match against McNeese, the third set proved to be challenging. With a back-and-forth beginning, neither team saw more than a 2-point lead until, with the help of two aces in a row by outside hitter transfer, Cansu Gunaydin, UTSA pulled forward at 22-19. Despite this newfound drive the ‘Runners ultimately fell short in match three with 23-25, only scoring one point while UTA scored 6. 

Much like UTSA’s match against McNeese the day before, once again the Roadrunners fell short of taking the fourth set for the win. From the start of set four, the Mavericks developed a 6-1 lead, the ‘Runners struggled to catch up but eventually managed to even off the score 16 all. Even with this catch-up, it was not enough to secure the win, the Mavericks took the fourth set 25-18. 

In the final set of the match, both teams were tied 2-2. From the start, the Mavericks maintained their momentum and led the ‘Runners 10-4. Despite last attempt efforts by UTSA, the ‘Runners fell 9-15 going 2-3 in the match. Outside hitter Cansu Gunaydin led the match with 15 kills and four aces. 

While the ‘Runners came out on top the first day of the tournament, ultimately they walked away 2-1 at their first home games of the 2022 season. Next weekend the ‘Runners will face off against Houston Baptist University (5-2), Valparaiso University (9-0) and the University of the Incarnate Word (1-6) at the Roadrunner Classic presented by Courtyard Marriott at The Rim.