Antonio Morano Photography

Newcomers shine as UTSA takes down Texas Southern, 3-0

SAN ANTONIO — The UTSA volleyball program opened the 2023 season in style, using a .387 hitting percentage to claim a three-set victory over Texas Southern in the inaugural match of the UTSA Invitational at the Convocation Center on Friday. 
The Roadrunners (1-0, 0-0 AAC) took down the Lady Tigers (0-1, 0-0 SWAC), with junior Faye Wilbricht and sophomore Mia Soerensen each logging double-digit kills. Wilbricht led the match with 12 terminations, while Soerensen managed 12 in what represented their first match, donning navy and orange. Also making a solid first impression, freshman Makenna Wiepert launched four service aces and recorded a double-double, compiling a match-high 35 assists and 10 digs. 
Defensively, Nobody in the Convo logged more digs than senior Aliah Giroux, who totaled 11, with junior Ellie Turner not far behind, managing eight. Additionally, sophomore Katelyn Krienke posted a pair of blocks. 
A service ace by Wiepert opened the 2023 campaign ahead of kills by senior Alicia Coppedge, sophomore Caroline Krueger, and Soerensen that helped UTSA claim an early 7-3 edge. The UTSA lead grew to five before the Lady Tigers bounced back, rattling off five straight and knotting the contest at 12. The teams exchanged blows down the stretch, resulting in a 17-16 score line favoring UTSA. The Roadrunners claimed six of the following seven points in a sequence that saw three Wilbricht kills and a 23-17 UTSA lead. From there, terminations by Wilbricht and Soerensen capped off a 25-19 opening-frame win. 
The Roadrunners rattled off three straight to open the second stanza before a TSU kill saw the UTSA edge trimmed to one. Up 4-3, the Runners' stole the subsequent six rallies, affording them a 10-3 lead. The Lady Tigers answered, claiming three of the next four before a six-point run featuring back-to-back aces by Wiepert afforded UTSA a commanding 17-6 lead. UTSA cruised through the remainder of the set, with a kill by Wilbricht capping off a 25-14 win. 
A back-and-forth start to the third set saw a 5-5 tie that was broken courtesy of Krueger, who logged back-to-back kills. A Lady Tiger error and a successful attack by Krienke followed, putting UTSA up 9-5. TSU logged a termination of their own, halting the run, but two more Roadrunner kills resulted in an 11-6 edge. UTSA then kept the opposition at arm's length, working a 20-15 score line. From there, the Runners' rattled off five straight in a streak that saw freshman Kai Bailey log her first collegiate block and kill, as well as two service aces by Krienke that secured a 25-15 victory and the match. 
The Roadrunners will now turn their attention toward Missouri State, with a 7 p.m. showdown awaiting on Friday in the Convocation Center in what will serve as the team's annual Let's Go 210 Orange Out Contest. Additionally, UTSA will take time to honor McKenzie Adams, who was recently named to the institution's inaugural Hall of Fame class following a collegiate career featuring two All-American seasons and a pair of conference Player of the Year awards. 
Keep up with UTSA Volleyball all season long on, and by following the program on Facebook at /UTSAVBall, Twitter @UTSAVolleyball, and on Instagram @utsa_vb.