Courtesy of Paisano Media

Courtesy of Paisano Media

The UTSA Roadrunner volleyball team (14-10, C-USA 7-4) traveled to Florida this weekend to face the Florida Atlantic University Owls and the Florida International University Panthers in their journey to the Conference USA championship tournament.

Senior libero Emily Ramirez added her name to the ‘Runner record books with her 41st service ace of the season. Freshmen Hunter Coppola and Bianca Ejesieme led the team in kills for the night with nine and eight, respectively. Freshman setter Courtney Walters recorded 22 assists and Jenna Patton tallied half of the team’s blocks.

The Owls opened the night with a 9-0 scoring run and took advantage of the ‘Runners’ serve receive rotation. Senior middle blocker Montse Castro claimed two kills down the line in hopes of closing the score gap, but the Owls continued to shut down the ‘Runners’ offense and ended the first set 25-16.

The ‘Runners recorded multiple hitting errors to start the second set. Ejesieme tied the set 19-19 — the ‘Runners’ first potential advantage in the match. The Owls responded quickly with a 6-3 run to regain the advantage. On set point, the ‘Runners committed their sixth hitting error of the set to drop the second set 22-25 going into intermission.

Beginning set three, the Owls jumped ahead with an 8-3 scoring run to set the tone for the final set of the match. After holding off four match points, a serve by the Owls landed in the back-court to win the set, 25-20, sweeping the ‘Runners 3-0.

The ‘Runners then faced the Panthers for their second match of the weekend and only dropped one set before claiming victory. Coppola recorded her career-high kill average with 17 kills. Ejesieme, sophomore Hannah Lopez and senior Kara Teal joined Coppola in recording double-digit kills for the match. Walters claimed 42 assists, and sophomore Mia Perales added 18.

The first set consisted of 10 ties and three lead changes. The Panthers scored six of the final 10 points and claimed the first set. The ‘Runners held off two match points with one kill by Coppola, but the Panthers claimed the first set with a service ace, 25-23.

The second set consisted of nine draws and four lead changes. Tied at 22-22, Coppola and Ejesieme scored two kills to advance the ‘Runners to set point. The ‘Runners claimed the set after an attacking error from the Panthers to end the second set 25-23.

The ‘Runners kept their momentum going into the third set. Madeline McKay and Coppola led the offense after intermission. The ‘Runners forced multiple passing errors from the Panthers to close the set with a 3-0 scoring run, 25-21.

Ejesieme and Lopez led the ‘Runners for the fourth and final set against the Panthers. After a scoring tie at 16-16, the ‘Runners held the lead to finish the match 3-1. Holding the score close, the ‘Runners took the four-point advantage to claim the set 25-21.

The ‘Runners will be back in action in the Convocation Center to face the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders on Sunday, Nov. 10.

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