UTSA volleyball loses conference opener to No. 23 Rice

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

After winning back-to-back tournaments, UTSA (5-8, 0-1) opened their conference schedule by traveling to Houston to play the No. 23 Rice Owls (11-1, 1-0). The two teams have met 36 times, to which Rice holds a 29-7 record against the Roadrunners. The Owls won convincingly, sweeping the ‘Runners. Rice’s defense was one of the best UTSA would face this season.

In the first set, Rice was clearly shown to be the superior team, with a 20-6 lead at one point. The ‘Runners did answer, however, making it a five-point game at 23-18. The Roadrunners showed up a little too late, losing the set 25-19. Rice held UTSA to a .091 hitting percentage in the first set. The Owls started the second set similarly to the first, jumping out to an early lead. The score was 21-10 at one point, and the Roadrunners were just unable to gain momentum. Rice won the set 25-15. Unfortunately for the Roadrunners, the third set was an even larger upset. Once it was 20-12, the Owls did not let UTSA score another point, losing the set 25-12 and the match 3-0.  

The Owls had 40 kills to the Roadrunners’ 21, along with 10 aces to UTSA’s three. Kelsey Carpenter led UTSA with six kills and Katelyn Krienke had five. They were the only two ‘Runners with more than three kills. Danyle Courtley led the Owls with 10 kills, followed by Sahara Maruska with nine.  

This is the second time UTSA has lost a conference opener in the last 10 years. Rice came into this game with just one loss, which came to No. 18 Oregon earlier in the season. 

UTSA will return home to face Florida Atlantic at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30.