Roadrunners open campaign with five-set victory against UAB
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Junior outside hitter McKenzie Adams posted a career-high double-double of 26 kills and 20 digs to lead UTSA to a 3-2 victory against UAB in its 2012 season opener on Friday afternoon at the Blue Raiders Bash.
Adams, who also had four blocks in the victory, managed just one winner in the fourth set before taking over in the final frame with a half dozen. Junior Brandy Huskey added 47 assists and dug out 17 balls, while freshman Annie Kunes collected 19 digs in her collegiate debut. Senior Brittney Malloy netted 10 kills and hit a match-high .529.
The Roadrunners, who held the Blazers to a .106 hitting percentage, racked up 14 total blocks in winning their first match of the year for the third time in the last four campaigns (all the wins have come in five sets).
UAB opened the contest with a .429 hitting percentage and took advantage of six attack errors by UTSA to claim the first set.
The Blazers held a 10-6 lead before Adams reeled off three consecutive kills to pull the Birds to within one. However, UAB answered with a 4-0 run that forced UTSA to call a timeout. Following the stoppage of play, the Blazers increased their advantage to as much as six before the Roadrunners mounted another comeback. Trailing 21-17, UTSA again turned to Adams, who racked up three straight winners. Huskey then tied the match with a service ace before UAB closed out the panel with a 4-1 run.
The two teams went back and forth in the second frame before the Birds seized control late.
With the stanza tied at 18, the Roadrunners picked up three consecutive points, which was capped off with a service ace by sophomore Dempsey Thornton, to seize control. The Blazers managed to pull back to within two, but UTSA won the next four to even the match.
The Roadrunners used the momentum to take an early lead in the third set. UAB kept the panel close, but the Birds took a 12-10 advantage before reeling off an 8-0 run. UTSA, which hit .355 in the set, then won five of the final eight tallies to take a 2-1 lead.
The Roadrunners held an 8-5 lead in the fourth panel before the Blazers went on an 8-0 run. UAB then increased its lead to as much as seven before tying up the match with a 25-20 decision.
Adams took over the deciding panel with six winners and hit at a .455 clip. The Birds raced out to an 8-3 advantage, but the Blazers then won six of the next nine points to pull to within two before back-to-back winners by Adams and Malloy forced UAB to call a timeout. UTSA then took two of the final five points and Adams ended the match with her 26th kill of the day.
The Roadrunners will be back in action at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday against tournament host Middle Tennessee (0-1), which was swept by Furman in the first match of the day. UTSA will conclude event play at 8 p.m. against the Paladins (1-1), who were swept by UC Davis following their season-opening victory against the Blue Raiders.