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Roadrunners fall to Mustangs in home conference opener

After winning a marathon first set, UTSA lost to SMU in four

SAN ANTONIO — The UTSA volleyball program fell to No. RV SMU, 30-32, 25-13, 25-19, 25-16 in American Athletic Conference action at the Convocation Center on Saturday. 

The Roadrunners (8-5, 1-1 AAC) couldn’t overcome a potent Mustang (8-5, 2-0 AAC) squad that’s receiving national recognition. 

Sophomore Mia Soerensen led UTSA in kills for the eighth consecutive match, logging nine, while sophomore Katelyn Krienke and senior Alicia Coppedge each posted eight. Krienke converted attacks at a .316 clip and tied Soerensen for the most blocks in the contest at four. Additionally, freshman Makenna Wiepert recorded 28 assists and two aces, with senior Aliah Giroux pacing the squad in digs, boasting 19. 

The ‘Runners used a Coppedge kill as well as back-to-back Krienke terminations to jump out to an 8-3 lead in the first set. SMU clawed back to within three, prompting a three-point UTSA swing that saw a 14-8 score. The teams exchanged blows before a trio of Mustang points induced a Roadrunner timeout. With UTSA owning a 23-18 advantage, the SMU run continued, yielding another break in the action. Now trailing 24-22, the Mustangs knotted things up ahead of a back-and-forth battle that saw a 30-30 deadlock. An SMU service error and a superb setter dump by Wiepert then allowed UTSA to secure a 32-30 victory. 

SMU got off on the front foot to open the second, rattling off five straight for an 8-3 edge. The Mustangs then surged to a 17-8 lead, later winning the race to 20 and claiming a 25-13 set win. 

The Mustangs scored eight of the first 10 points in the third to snag another early lead, but UTSA rallied, using multiple spurts and kills by freshman Miranda Putnicki, Krienke, and senior Faye Wilbricht to tie the frame at 13. SMU then strung together five straight to snag a 19-15 advantage. The Roadrunners again responded as Soerensen and Putnicki combined for a block to cap off a three-point run. With SMU’s lead trimmed to one, the Mustangs collected seven of the subsequent eight rallies to take the stanza 25-19. 

Terminations for Putnicki, Soerensen, and Krienke helped UTSA to a 7-5 edge to begin the fourth, prior to a five-point SMU rally that put the Mustangs up three. A Soerensen/Krienke block shortly after kept the Roadrunners within striking distance. However, back-to-back kills for SMU saw a 17-12 score line and rendered a UTSA timeout. The Mustangs then cruised to a 25-16 victory, finishing the match. 

UTSA will battle SMU again on Sunday as they take on the Mustangs on Family Day. Ahead of the contest at 2 p.m., fans are invited to come out to the Convo to experience food, fun, and more, with festivities beginning at 11:30 p.m.

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.