UTSA cruises past Southern Mississippi in Conference USA Tournament quarterfinals
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — UTSA hit a Conference USA Tournament-record .506 and the top-seeded Roadrunners swept No. 8 Southern Mississippi in Friday's opening quarterfinal at Alumni Memorial Gym.
Conference USA Player of the Year McKenzie Adams downed a match-best 23 winners on just 36 attempts and fellow first-team all-conference honoree Dajana Boskovic added a dozen on only 20 swings to lead UTSA (22-7) into the semifinals. Jessica Waldrip delivered 42 assists and Annie Kunes had a match-high 15 digs.
Southern Miss (17-14) was led by Quinci Hayward’s 13 kills and Kristen Fleming handed out 29 helpers.
Trailing 16-14 in the opening set, the Roadrunners pulled away with a 6-0 run that was aided by three Golden Eagles attack errors coupled with a pair of Adams kills and block by Waldrip and Kylie Schott. UTSA continued to extend the lead the rest of the way with Boskovic providing the final point from with a kill from the right pin. Adams was dominant with nine kills on just 14 attempts, while Waldrip dished out 14 assists and Kunes registered five digs.
Boskovic and Schott combined on back-to-back blocks early in the second stanza, which gave the Roadrunners an early 8-4 edge. UTSA extended its lead to as much as seven with Waldrip’s 16 assists leading the way. The Roadrunners hit .471 in the set, as Adams tallied six kills and Boskovic added another five.
UTSA emerged from the 10-minute break with an opening 10-3 blitz to take full control of the final frame. Adams had eight kills and Waldrip registered a dozen helpers, three service aces and a block to help close out the sweep.
The Roadrunners will face Marshall (16-15), which defeated North Texas in five sets in Friday's second quarterfinal, at 3 p.m. on Saturday in the tournament's opening semifinal. UTSA downed the Thundering Herd in four sets back on Nov. 3.