UTSA stormed in to the Conference USA Volleyball Championship game as they won their semi-final 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-16) on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center. The Roadrunners cruised past Southern Miss which will build them confidence ahead of their match against Western Kentucky or North Texas on Sunday afternoon at the same venue.
“It just gives us confidence for tomorrow,” said Dejana Boskovic after the win, with UTSA doing well in the game. “The team really shared the load, we just ask everybody to do their job and that’s what they did today.” Said coach Laura Neugebauer-Groff after the match.
Coach Neugebauer-Groff definitely had her charges share the load in a dominant performance, UTSA managed 42 kills. Kasey Kiefer led the way with led the way with 13 assists, while Jordan Kotara also managed double figure kills with ten.
The big difference was in the errors, with Southern Miss making 22 errors throughout the match. “We knew they were an error heavy team,” said Coach Neugebauer-Groff after the match. “We just had to serve them had and force those errors and we knew the points would come.”
There were just two lead changes in the whole match, both coming in the third set, while there were only six ties, with all bar one of those coming in the third set. The Roadrunners were dominant throughout and will look to take that confidence in to the final on Sunday.
With the scores locked at one a piece in the first set UTSA really took charge from there, going on a 7-1 run to firmly take charge. Most of the points in that run came from attack errors with Southern Miss making four attack errors in the stretch to hand the advantage to UTSA, who restricted Southern Miss to a -.133 hitting percentage in those early stages.
The Roadrunners were forced to give the next time out, with the score at 13-7, but still Southern Miss were in a negative hitting percentage. A hitting error would push UTSA on as they started pushing to win the set.
With the score at 23-12 UTSA thought they had kept the ball alive when Annie Kunes got her hand under the ball. But the referee disagreed, giving the point to the Golden Eagles and giving them a chance.
But the Roadrunners got the set point on the next call anyway, but took some time to close out the set. The Roadrunners had four set points before finally finishing out the set after an attack error from Stephany Purdue gave UTSA the 25-17 win.
The second set was all UTSA as a quick 5-0 run forced the Golden Eagles in to a time-out early on. Marijeta Runjic was the vital member of the team in that early run, managing three kills as UTSA hit at .750.
From there UTSA never looked back, leading through the whole set as they cruised to the set win. But the Golden Eagles did give UTSA a scare, as the Roadrunners again took time to close out the set, needing three set points.
The third set was a very different story, with Southern Miss facing elimination, the Golden Eagles stepped it up and kept things tight. But with the score at 5-5 UTSA kicked away and went on a 10-0 run to all but wrap up the match.
“I was nervous,” said Neugebauer-Groff after the match, about that run, “because that’s when you can switch off and get sloppy, and we did a little bit there.” Southern Miss did get back in to the set, but only barely as UTSA won 25-16 to claim the match and a place in Sunday’s final.