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Roadrunners sweep 49ers to open conference play

UTSA cruised to a three-set victory over Charlotte in its inaugural AAC match

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The UTSA volleyball team was victorious in its inaugural American Athletic Conference match, as they took down Charlotte, 25-17, 25-18, 25-19 inside Halton Arena on Wednesday. 

The Roadrunners (8-4, 1-0 AAC) swept the 49ers (7-6, 0-1 AAC) with freshman Makenna Wiepert issuing a match-high 28 assists to accompany three service aces. Also leading statistically, senior Aliah Giroux totaled 20 digs, while classmate Alicia Coppedge led the way with four blocks. Additionally, sophomore Mia Soerensen tied Lara Kretchmer of CLT for the most kills in the match, each logging nine. 

After the 49ers scored the first two points in the initial frame, the Roadrunners responded, rattling off five straight in a stretch that saw back-to-back kills for senior Cansu Günaydin and Coppedge. UTSA then maintained their edge with a block by Coppedge, affording the squad a 15-10 advantage. A termination for sophomore Katelyn Krienke and a CLT error helped the 'Runners win the race to 20, ahead of a 49er spurt that saw a 20-14 score line. Shortly after, junior Faye Wilbricht and Coppedge closed out the set with consecutive kills for a 25-17 UTSA victory. 

An ace for Wiepert, along with terminations for Soerensen and Wilbricht, helped the Roadrunners to a 4-0 lead in the second stanza. Charlotte then answered with four straight scores of their own. The 49ers worked a slim 11-9 edge, ahead of a five-point surge that was capped off by a Wilbricht termination. With UTSA now leading 14-11, Charlotte broke the run with a kill, before a Coppedge solo block and another ace for Wiepert put the Roadrunners up 18-12. The 49ers battled back to within three, reflecting a 20-17 score, but the Roadrunners prevailed using a perfectly placed ace by Günaydin to win the set 25-18.

Three straight Roadrunner points opened the final set, with the squad eventually using Wiepert’s third ace to take a 10-5 lead. Charlotte slowly whittled away at their deficit as an Annika Thompson kill resulted in a 12-10 score line, still favoring UTSA. From there, Günaydin launched a successful attack, and Krienke worked consecutive terminations to help keep the opposition at arm's length. A Krienke ace shortly after allowed the 'Runners to win the race to 20 and claim a 20-12 edge. The 49ers wouldn't go quietly, threatening a comeback and prompting a UTSA timeout with the Roadrunners holding a 24-18 lead. CLT picked up the next point following the break, but a final kill for Soerensen confirmed a 25-19 set win and a sweep for UTSA. 

The 'Runners will return to the Alamo City as they continue league play, hosting SMU. The Roadrunners and Mustangs will first meet on Saturday at 6 p.m. before a 2 p.m. matchup on Sunday inside the Convocation Center. 

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.