Volleyball

UTSA’s women’s volleyball team ended their last season in the Southland Conference with a loss to rival Texas State in the championship game. The Roadrunners look to rebound in a big way in the newly revamped Western Athletic Conference (WAC).             

Despite losing in the championship game last season, the volleyball team is bringing a lot of positive momentum with them to the WAC. The WAC preseason coaches’ poll ranked UTSA third in the conference. UTSA received 58 points in the preseason poll, nine shy of Idaho’s second place ranking and six points higher than Texas State’s fifth place ranking.

As UTSA junior outside hitter  McKenzie Adams remarked, “All of our practices are electric. We’re really excited about the upcoming season and what we can do.”

“We’ve been taking every practice one day at a time,” Whitney Walls, UTSA outside hitter, said.

A major contributing factor to the team’s confidence is the return of its core players. The team is returning eight of 16 players from last season for Head Coach Laura Groff.

“The Roadrunners got a lot better over the offseason. We’re taller, longer and more athletic than our previous UTSA teams,” Groff said.

Not only are the women more athletic this year, they have great team camaraderie.  

“We have better athletes, but we get along really well too; but, then again, that was never really a problem for this team,” Adams said. “We’re going to a lodge in a few days just, so we can bond, hangout, and get to know one another even better.”

In addition to UTSA’s preseason rankings, both Walls and Adams were selected by the coaches as preseason All-WAC players. Walls had a great junior campaign last season. She was first-team All-Southland. 

As for Adams, she earned the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year and a spot on the All-Southland Conference first team. In addition to the players’ outstanding achievements, both Adams and Walls were selected for the first All-Southland Conference tournament team.

Adams and Walls are bringing a lot of experience to the team this season, and Groff will rely heavily on their outside hitting for a successful season. When moving from one conference to another, coaches often feel the pressure to succeed in their first season. However, Groff doesn’t feel such pressure with the team’s third place ranking.

“I’m not really worried about it. To build a program, we take it match-by-match. I’m not thinking about the third place ranking,” Groff said. “Playing well and practicing well are the only things that matters at this point.”

The Roadrunners will open at home with the UTSA Classic beginning on Thursday, Aug. 30, and ending on Saturday Sept. 1.

The Roadrunners will square off against visiting Belmont University from Tennessee and the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP). UTSA’s first match will be against Belmont on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 6:30 pm in the Convocation Center.

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