HOUSTON — The UTSA volleyball team fell to No. RV Rice, 25-12, 25-21, 25-18 on Friday in American Athletic Conference action inside the Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Roadrunners (8-7, 1-3 AAC) couldn't contain a Rice (10-4, 4-0 AAC) squad that entered the contest undefeated in AAC play and receiving national recognition.
Sophomore Mia Soerensen was the UTSA kill leader, posting eight, while senior Alicia Coppedge managed seven at a .300 clip. Additionally, classmate Caroline Krueger registered six and senior Faye Wilbricht five.
Sophomore Katelyn Krienke tied a member of the opposition for the match-lead in blocks with three, while freshman Makenna Wiepert logged 20 assists. Three Roadrunners recorded double-digit digs, with Krueger logging 16, Wiepert 13, and senior Aliah Giroux 11.
Things were close early in the first set before a solo block by Krienke handed the Roadrunners a 7-6 advantage. The Owls responded, stealing the following six rallies to go up 12-7. A termination for Wilbricht halted the Owl run, but another surge shortly after saw the opposition take a 20-10 lead. Krueger logged a kill ahead of four straight Rice points, resulting in a 25-12 set win for the Owls.
Rice jumped out to a 6-4 lead to open the second stanza, however, kills for Wilbricht and Coppedge bookended a three-point UTSA run that allowed the squad to secure a 7-6 advantage. Rice rebuilt their advantage going up 14-11, but back-to-back kills for Krueger knotted the contest at 14. The Owls kept the Roadrunners at arms-length from there as a Coppedge kill pulled UTSA within one late in the frame. Now leading 20-19, Rice finished off strong, earning a 25-21 victory.
The Owls were hot to start the third set, growing a 7-2 lead after taking the first four rallies. UTSA then rattled off five straight in a run featuring multiple Soerensen terminations and a Soerensen/Krienke combo block that tied the set at eight a piece. Things remained close until a five-point Rice swing midway through the stanza resulted in an 18-12 score line, favoring the Owls. Rice then won the race to 20 before claiming the match with a 25-18 set win.
The 'Runners and Owls will meet again on Saturday as the squads reunite at 1 p.m. inside the Tudor Fieldhouse.