Jeff Huehn, UTSA Athletics
UTSA’s volleyball team (14-7, 5-2 C-USA) was defeated three sets to one by the Marshall Herd (14-8, 5-4 C-USA) at home on Sunday.
Having won six consecutive sets in their first two conference games at home, this match was the first time UTSA dropped a set at home against a conference opponent this season. The loss puts UTSA in a two-way tie at fifth place with Rice in the Conference USA standings.
“They just played harder than we did,” Head Coach Laura Groff said of the fired-up Marshall squad. “We just weren’t being aggressive with our serves. I just felt like we showed up and thought they were going to lie down. They didn’t.”
After a competitive first set that ended 25-19 in favor of Marshall, UTSA showed the grit Roadrunner fans are accustomed to seeing, displaying dominance in a 25-9 second-set win. The Herd’s lowest point total of the season was set when they scored only nine points in that second set.
“Game two was a complete flip because we served tough,” Groff said. “I just don’t know why we couldn’t keep it going. I really don’t.”
Despite the dominant performance in game two, Marshall maintained control throughout the remainder of the match, winning games three and four by scores of 25-23 and 25-16.
“You’ve got to execute.” Groff said after the loss. “It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the net. If we’re the better team, we’re going to win.”
For a team that is dominated by the contributions of upperclassmen, the Roadrunners received some key contributions from a few underclassmen in the loss. Leading the charge of freshmen and sophomore contributors was sophomore Marijeta Runjic, who led UTSA with 16 kills. The 6’4” Croatian currently has 205 kills for the season, good for second on the team behind only Dajana Boskovic (249).
“(Runjic) did great,” Groff said after Runjic’s strong showing against Marshall. “She came in and carried the load. I thought she played a great match tonight.”
The UTSA volleyball team will compete against Charlotte on Wednesday, then UTEP on Sunday, to end their three-game home stretch.