CONWAY, Ark. — Texas State built a 2-0 lead that proved to be too much for UTSA to overcome and the Bobcats won the Southland Conference Tournament Championship by scores of 25-20, 25-22, 16-25 and 25-17 on Sunday at the Farris Center.
The Roadrunners (22-11) won the third set to extend the contest, but Texas State (27-7) used a complete effort in the fourth stanza to earn the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Sophomore McKenzie Adams registered a match-high 17 kills for UTSA, which was held to a .182 hitting percentage in the season-ending defeat.
Meanwhile, senior Kelsey Jewasko recorded 17 digs to become the program's all-time leader (2,280).
Both players were named to the all-tournament team.
Texas State received a dozen winners from Amari Deardorff and a double-double of 40 assists and 14 digs from Caleigh McCorquodale.
Adams posted five kills, but the Roadrunners were limited to a .120 hitting percentage in the opening frame.
The Bobcats jumped out to a 12-5 lead, but UTSA answered with a 12-6 run that was capped by an Adams winner and that brought the Birds within one at 18-17. However, Texas State pushed the lead back to six (24-18) and held off UTSA for the five-point win.
The Roadrunners improved their offensive performance in the second set to a .237 clip, but the Bobcats' steady attack pushed gave them what proved to be an insurmounable 2-0 lead at intermission.
Adams racked up six more kills in the panel that featured 11 ties and four lead changes.
The Birds jumped out to a 7-3 advantage, but Texas State managed to pull even with a 6-2 spurt. Things remained close from there with neither squad leading by more than three. Junior Whitney Walls gave UTSA a 22-21 lead with a cross-court winner, but the Bobcats tied the set after Jewasko's serve went into the net. Following a kill by Melissa Toth and an attack error by Walls, Ashlee Hilbun gave Texas State the set with a well-placed tip.
UTSA rebounded with a nine-point win in the third frame by holding the Bobcats to a negative .059 hitting percentage. Texas State took a 1-0 lead but back-to-back kills by Walls gave the Roadrunners the lead for good.
With the fourth set tied at 11, the Bobcats reeled off a 4-0 spurt that pushed the game out of reach. UTSA cut the lead to two before Texas State pulled away to claim its seventh Southland Tournament title.
Juniors Brittney Malloy and Walls each netted 11 kills for the Birds, while redshirt junior Kelsey Schwirtlich handed out a match-high 46 assists.