MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — UTSA wrapped up the season-opening Blue Raiders Bash on Saturday with a split of its two matches.
The Roadrunners (2-1) defeated tournament host Middle Tennessee in four sets (23-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-22) before being swept by Furman (25-20, 25-20, 25-19) later in the night.
UTSA will open its home slate at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28, against Rice (1-2).
Thornton pushes UTSA past Middle Tennessee in four sets
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Sophomore outside hitter Dempsey Thornton posted a career-high 19 kills and combined that with 13 digs and she helped guide UTSA to a 23-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-22 victory against Middle Tennessee on Saturday afternoon.
Thornton racked up 10 of her winners in the final two frames to bolster the Roadrunners offense. Junior McKenzie Adams netted her second straight double-double with 14 kills and a dozen digs, while junior setter Brandy Huskey also collected a double-double with 51 assists and 10 digs.
UTSA (2-0) recorded another strong defensive effort at the net with 12 blocks. Meanwhile, the Blue Raiders (1-2), who were limited to a .148 hitting percentage, were paced by 15 winners from Chelsea Ross.
Middle Tennessee rallied late in the first frame and used a 9-3 run to take an early lead in the match. Both teams struggled offensively in the early going and the Roadrunners were unable to take advantage of holding the Blue Raiders to a -.026 hitting percentage and eight blocks.
UTSA rebounded to tie the contest after pulling away in the second set.
The Birds trailed 14-10 before reeling off a 5-0 spurt to reclaim the lead. The Blue Raiders battled back to knot the panel at 17 before a combined block by Huskey and senior Brittney Malloy put the Roadrunners on top for good. UTSA closed out the frame with an 8-3 run that featured a pair of winners by Adams.
The Roadrunners started to click on the offensive end in the third set by hitting at a .367 clip and they committing only four attack errors. UTSA used the momentum to open a 7-2 lead before Middle Tennessee called a timeout. The Birds then pushed their lead to as much as six and held off a late charge by the Blue Raiders before winning by five points.
The two clubs traded points to start the fourth set before Middle Tennessee took a 13-10 advantage. However, UTSA ripped off three consecutive points following kills by freshman Kylie Schott and senior Whitney Walls and a service ace by freshman Jordan Kotara. The stanza featured 14 ties before a Thornton winner put the Birds on top 22-21. UTSA won three of the final four points to close out the contest.
The Roadrunners will wrap up tournament play at 8 p.m. against Furman (1-1).
UTSA swept by Furman in Blue Raiders Bash finale
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Natalie Braun posted a match-high 18 kills and led Furman to a 25-20, 25-20, 25-19 sweep of late Saturday night.
The Roadrunners (2-1), who were swept for the first time since Sept. 10, 2011, hit .165 and had 19 attack errors in the loss.
Senior Whitney Walls netted 12 kills while junior McKenzie Adams chipped in with 10.
The Paladins (3-1), who hit at a .308 clip, used a consistent effort to complete the sweep.
UTSA held the advantage for most of the opening set, but Furman used a late 7-0 run to take a 24-19 lead. After the Birds managed to stop the spurt, the Paladins finished off the set on a winner by Braun.
Furman used the momentum from the late charge to post a .414 hitting percentage and claim the second set. The Paladins opened a 5-0 lead before UTSA picked up a point. The Birds fell behind by as much as eight before junior McKenzie Adams picked up back-to-back kills to cut the lead to three. However, with Furman leading 21-18, the Roadrunners only were able to win two of the final six points.
UTSA was unable to mount a comeback in the final frame as the Paladins led for most of the set. The Birds were able to tie the panel at 17-all before Furman reeled off an 8-2 run to close out the contest.
The Roadrunners will open their home slate at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28, against Rice (1-2).