Rowland, Play of the Week, leads UTSA to tourney championship


UTSA completed a perfect week with two more victories on Saturday and won this weekend’s DePaul Invitational. Wins against Denver and Ball State gave the Roadrunners (5-6) their first preseason tournament championship since the 1994 UTSA Roadrunners Invitational.

Sophomore outside hitter Kendra Rowland, who recorded 49 kills, five service aces and 28 digs the last two days, was named the Tournament MVP and junior middle hitter Stefanie Robbins (.30 kills/5 blocks) also was named to the All-Tournament Team.

In what turned out to be the theme of the day, UTSA dropped its first set to Ball State (3-8) by a score of 25-23. The Birds trailed throughout but a late rally fell just short. However, the team regrouped and won the following three stanzas by scores of 25-22, 25-15 and 25-21 to clinch the tournament title.

The Roadrunners hit .279 as a team (.230 for the weekend overall) and were led by the duo of Rowland and freshman outside hitter Elise Huskey, who both had a match-best 15 winners. Robbins added 11 kills and freshman setter Amber Brooks had match highs of 48 helpers, four service aces and three block assists.

Defensively, freshman libero Kelsey Jewasko led four players in double figures with 17 digs and Brooks, Huskey and Rowland completed double-doubles with 10 apiece.

Down 2-0 after the second set, UTSA used timely offense and outstanding defense at the net to rally for a 21-25, 18-25, 25-22, 25-19, 15-12 come-from-behind victory against Denver. The Pioneers, who were off to their best start in school history, lost for just the second time in eight matches this year.

Rowland led three players in double figures with 14 kills and also had a match-best three service aces. Sophomore middle hitter Valorie Rogers had her second strong contest in a row with a match-high seven blocks (1/6) and five winners, while Huskey had a double-double of 13 kills and a dozen digs. Jewasko had a personal-best 24 digs and Brooks racked up 13 to go along with 43 assists.

The Roadrunners return home for a 7 p.m. match on Wednesday, Sept. 17, against Texas-Pan American. That match can be seen live on (with a Rowdy Zone subscription).