SAN ANTONIO — The UTSA volleyball team will host Tulsa for a pair of American Athletic Conference matches in the Convocation Center this week, first meeting the Golden Hurricane at 6 p.m. in a Día de los Muertos themed contest on Friday before hosting the squad once more on Saturday at 2 p.m. for Senior Day.
The Roadrunners (13-11, 6-7 AAC) have been on fire recently as they stretched their win streak to five, picking up victories over Memphis and Florida Atlantic last time out. In the process, freshman Miranda Putnicki was named AAC Defensive Player of the Week, while junior Mekaila Aupiu was listed on the league's honor roll.
Putnicki made history against the Tigers, boasting 12 blocks for the most of any UTSA student-athlete in the rally-scoring era. She accomplished the feat in four sets, surpassing Megan Slan, who managed 10 on Nov. 20, 2015, in a match with Florida International. She logged 16 total blocks for the most in The American, helping the 'Runners hold their opponents to a 0.99 hitting percentage across the weekend.
Nobody in the AAC logged more assists per set than Aupiu, who averaged 11. She dished out 77 helpers with three kills and 11 blocks while leading UTSA to a .263 hitting percentage. Sophomore Mia Soerensen converted the bulk of those sets with 24 kills and senior Alicia Coppedge 20 at an incredibly efficient .462 clip.
Coppedge and Soerensen joined Putnicki and Aupiu in the double-digit block club, with Coppedge recording 14 and Soerensen 13.
The Golden Hurricane (13-12, 6-7 AAC) had a solid week as well, snapping a five-match skid with a pair of wins over South Florida and East Carolina. They swept the Bulls before claiming a five-set thriller over East Carolina as Kayley Cassaday was named AAC Offensive Player of the Week.
This marks the third occasion that Cassaday was awarded the accolade and the sixth time she's been recognized this season. She recorded 70 terminations for an average of 5.62 per set en route to the award. On the year, she sits second nationally in kills with 478 and points with 516, among other statistics. As a team, TU tanks atop the NCAA with 39.04 attacks per set and is 14th in digs at 1,563.
Along with Cassaday, Beth Bayless, and Arianna Mongare have launched over 100 successful attacks, while Marta Pecalli anchors the defense with 383 digs.
Mongare also gets the job done defensively, leading the team with 88 blocks, and Avery Kalsu serves as the team's primary setter, administering 911 assists on the season.