Kirenke Charlotte Preview PhotoKirenke Charlotte Preview Photo
Vashaun Newman

Roadrunners to begin AAC play in Charlotte

UTSA will play its inaugural match in the American Athletic Conference on Wednesday

SAN ANTONIO — The UTSA volleyball team is hitting the road to kick-start American Athletic Conference play on Wednesday as they face off against Charlotte at 5 p.m. C.T. inside Halton Arena.

The Roadrunners (7-4, 0-0 AAC) carry momentum into the AAC bout after closing out the nonconference slate with a pair of sweeps at the Cardinal Classic. 

Sophomore Katelyn Krienke played a significant role in the success, as she and classmate Mia Soerensen were chosen for the All-Tournament team, while newcomer Makenna Wiepert was named to the AAC's Weekly Honor Roll for the second occasion. Adding to the festivities, coach Carol Price-Torok picked up her 100th career victory after her squad bested UIW and Oral Roberts, hitting .368 over the weekend. 

Krienke posted double-digit kills in each of the sweeps, polishing off attacks at a .600 clip and logging 1.67 blocks per set for the highest average of any AAC competitor. She started the weekend tying the program record for block assists in a three-set match with eight against the Cardinals and boasted 10 kills with a .529 hitting percentage. She then launched 12 successful attacks in the matchup with the Golden Eagles, adding two blocks to her weekly total. Her prowess helped the Roadrunners to the league's top defense, holding opponents to a .105 hitting percentage. 

Soerensen, meanwhile, issued 26 terminations and a .469 hitting percentage to go with five blocks for 29 points. The bulk of those kills came courtesy of a Wiepert assist, with the freshman setter averaging a conference-best 12.17 assists per set, totaling 73. She picked up a double-double at UIW, posting 34 helpers and 11 digs ahead of a 39-assist and eight-dig performance against ORU. 

UTSA enters league-play, boasting the most aces per set at 1.96 and ranking first in assists per set with a mark of 12.97. Both figures rank inside the top 35 nationally, while the 'Runners also lead the AAC in hitting percentage, executing attacks at a 0.259 clip. 

The 49ers (7-5, 0-0 AAC) also exit nonconference play on a high note, working five-set victories over UNC Greensboro and UNC Ashville at the Spartan Tri-Match last time out. 

Charlotte has one of the top defenses in the nation, as they've achieved 117 total blocks for the highest figure in the AAC and the 14th-most among NCAA Division I programs. Aiding in their success, Sydney Baham, Lara Kretschmer, and Millai Madison all maintain over 1.0 blocks per set, while Sophie Whalen is the team leader in digs with 181. 

Offensively, the 49ers are led by Kretschmer, who has recorded 98 terminations at a .260 clip, with Cameryn Upshaw not far behind, logging 95 kills. Annika Wetterstrom is the team's top setter, dishing out 273 assists, while Annika Thompson completes the 6-2 tandem with 132 helpers. 

Keep up with UTSA Volleyball all season long on, and by following the program on Facebook at /UTSAVBall, X (Twitter) @UTSAVolleyball, and on Instagram @utsa_vb.