Senior Kendra Rowland registered her 15th double-double of the season to lead second-seeded UTSA to a 26-24, 25-21, 25-23 sweep of No. 6 Lamar in Saturday's first semifinal of the Southland Conference Tournament. The Roadrunners (21-11) will play for the league title for the first time in five years on Sunday against top seed Central Arkansas (28-7).
Rowland posted a match-high 17 kills and recorded 11 digs, while sophomore Whitney Walls chipped in 11 winners, all of
which came in the final two sets. Sophomore Brittney Malloy converted seven of her 10 swings into
points while hitting at a .700 clip and junior Elise Huskey collected 13 digs.
is a phenomenal feeling," Rowland said. "Knowing this is the last season for me, turning
it on in the conference tournament is definitely important. We found
our routine from earlier this season and put it all together today."
"The whole year we have talked about the climb," head coach Laura Neugebauer-Groff said. "We are now one step away from reaching our goal of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament."
Wendy Krell and Jayme Bazile led Lamar (13-16) with 11 and 10 winners, respectively, while Angel Colyar recorded a match-best 18 digs.
Rowland fueled a 4-1 run with three winners to pull UTSA even with the Lady Cardinals at 20-all in the opening frame. After splitting the next eight points, the Roadrunners had set point following an attack error by Sierra Whittaker. On the ensuing play, Malloy slammed home a winner to give the Roadrunners the opening frame.
UTSA led by as much as seven in the second stanza before staving off a late Lamar rally. The Lady Cardinals went on an 8-1 run to tie things up at 15, but the Roadrunners used a 5-1 spurt to push the lead to four at 20-16. After Lamar cut the lead in half, UTSA pulled away by securing three of the final four points.
The Roadrunners used another late surge to finish off the sweep. With the set tied at 19, UTSA reeled off three consecutive points to take a 22-19 lead. Lamar pulled within one (24-23), but senior Briana Mason notched the final winner to send the Birds into Sunday's championship match, which is scheduled for 3 p.m.
The contest will be televised by the Southland Television Network (click here
for an affiliate list).