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Putnicki makes history as ‘Runners tame Tigers for fourth consecutive victory

UTSA improves to 12-11 on the year following a 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18 win over Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The UTSA volleyball program claimed a four-set victory over Memphis on Friday, working a 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18 score line inside the Finch Center. In the process, freshman Miranda Putnicki posted 12 total blocks, the most of any UTSA student-athlete in the rally-scoring era. The previous mark of 10, had been achieved several times, with Megan Slan representing the last to accomplish it in a four-set match on Nov. 20, 2015, against Florida International. 

The Roadrunners (12-11, 5-7 AAC) bested the Tigers (8-16, 4-8 AAC), as the team’s blocking total of 18 snapped the program record for stuffs in a four-setter, surpassing the previous benchmark of 17 that was reached in a 2012 contest against Utah State. Along with Putnicki, sophomore Mia Soerensen recorded seven, and senior Alicia Coppedge six blocks to help accomplish the feat. 

Junior Mekaila Aupiu helped the team to a .301 hitting percentage to the tune of 46 assists, while Soerensen converted 17 terminations at a .412 clip. Coppedge and classmate Cansu Günaydin joined her in the double-digit kill club as Coppedge logged 12 and Günaydin 11. Additionally, senior Aliah Giroux paced the ‘Runners in digs with 12, as Günaydin and junior Ellie Turner each issued three service aces. 

The Roadrunners started off hot, scoring the first six points of the contest in a surge that saw multiple Günaydin aces. Memphis used a timeout and recovered, fighting back to within two, ahead of another UTSA run that featured three consecutive E. Turner aces and delivered an 11-5 Roadrunner advantage. Shortly after, Günaydin launched a successful attack, and Soerensen worked back-to-back kills en route to a 19-9 lead. A termination by Coppedge then capped off a 25-15 win for UTSA.

The second stanza saw a back-and-forth battle before Memphis claimed four straight rallies to go up 11-8. They kept UTSA at arms-length and won the race to 20 with a Tiger kill, resulting in a 20-15 score. After exchanging blows, Memphis reached set point, but the Roadrunners didn’t go quietly with back-to-back kills by Günaydin and Soerensen forcing a Tiger timeout. The opposition recovered out of the break, recording a block to earn a 25-22 victory. 

Soerensen launched a successful attack before combining with Putnicki for a block that saw UTSA go up 10-7 early in the third. The Tigers clawed back to within one, but Putnicki logged three consecutive blocks to rebuild a 14-10 lead. Memphis again continued fighting, eventually taking a 17-16 edge before a Krueger kill sparked a five-point run that allowed a Günaydin termination to hand the Roadrunners a 21-17 advantage. UTSA quickly put away the frame, as a kill for Krienke secured a 25-20 win. 

UTSA started the fourth set off strong with two blocks and a kill for Coppedge, inducing an 8-2 lead for the ‘Runners. Memphis roared back to within two midway through the stanza, but the Roadrunners kept the opposition at bay, scoring the final three points as a Krueger/Putnicki block cemented a 25-18 victory as well as the match. 

The Roadrunners now head to Boca Raton, Fla., with a match scheduled against Florida Atlantic on Sunday at noon inside Baldwin Arena. 

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.