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Roadrunners fall to Spartans to conclude Campbell Invitational

Despite outhitting their opponents, UTSA suffered a 25-23, 25-21, 16-25, 25-19 loss

BUIES CREEK, N.C. — The UTSA volleyball team concluded competition at the Campbell Invitational on Saturday, falling 25-23, 25-21, 16-25, 25-19 to San Jose State at Gore Arena. 

Despite outhitting the opposition, the Roadrunners (5-4, 0-0 AAC) couldn't overcome the Spartans (6-3, 0-0 MW) in the final leg of their North Carolina trip. The 'Runners went 1-2 on the weekend, as sophomore Mia Soerensen led UTSA in kills across all three matches and senior Aliah Giroux in digs. Freshman Miranda Putnicki impressed in her collegiate debut, tying Jiana Lawson for the match-high in blocks with six and posting five kills at a .333 clip. Additionally, newcomer Makenna Wiepert and senior Mekaila Aupiu each posted double-digit assists figures, as Wiepert managed 19 helpers and Aupiu 14. 

SJSU scored the first three points in the first frame, eventually taking a 6-2 lead. A three-point UTSA swing brought the 'Runners back into the fight as a Soerensen kill and back-to-back blocks for senior Alicia Coppedge and junior Cheyenne Hlady trimmed their deficit to one. The Spartans then kept the Roadrunners at arms-length, working an 18-15 advantage. Eventually, the Spartans grew a 23-18 edge, but a SJSU miscue and a Soerensen/Putnicki block resulted in a 23-20 score and a Spartan timeout. Out of the break, Soerensen slammed a successful attack over the net and later logged two more en route to a 24-23 score line, still favoring SJSU. A Roadrunner miscue, however, handed the Spartans a 25-23 victory in the first frame. 

The Roadrunners started the second stanza off hot, earning a quick 6-1 advantage. Multiple Spartan spurts trimmed the deficit to one, resulting in an 8-7 score. UTSA used a three-point swing that saw multiple Hlady terminations to regain a five-point lead. The Spartans again stormed back, claiming six consecutive rallies to work a 19-18 edge. UTSA used a timeout to regroup, as terminations for Soerensen and Coppedge put the 'Runners back in the driver's seat, but SJSU again recovered, knotting the set at 21. The Spartans surge continued, ahead of a 25-21 set win for SJSU. 

UTSA again jumped out to an early lead in the third, as a trio of consecutive aces by senior Cansu Günaydin and multiple Putnicki kills helped the squad to a 7-1 edge. SJSU clawed back to within three, prompting a 4-0 run for the 'Runners, resulting in a 14-7 UTSA advantage. The Roadrunners won the race to 20, ahead of a junior Ellie Turner ace and a Spartan error for a 25-16 UTSA win that extended the match to a fourth set. 

The Spartans worked a 7-3 edge to kick-start the fourth set, but the 'Runners responded with a senior Faye Wilbricht kill, capping off a streak that tied the frame at eight. The teams exchanged blows until a Putnicki kill broke an 11-11 deadlock. The lead didn't last long, as the opposition battled back, using a service ace to claim a 17-15 edge and force a UTSA timeout. SJSU kept the Roadrunners at arms-length, prompting another break in the action with the Spartans still leading, 21-19. SJSU then finished things off, taking the final frame 25-19. 

UTSA will return to The Alamo City, next facing UIW on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., ahead of a Friday matchup with Oral Roberts as a part of the UIW Cardinal Classic at the McDermott 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.