SAN ANTONIO — UTSA will open the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) portion of its schedule this weekend with a pair of home matches. The Roadrunners will host Utah State at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday before welcoming San Jose State to the Alamo City at 2 p.m. two days later.
UTSA (6-3) enters WAC play having won four of its last five contests, but it was swept on Monday night at Houston Baptist. Sophomore outside hitter Dempsey Thornton paced the Birds with 12 kills, while junior defensive specialist Paige Hamilton collected 16 digs.
Junior outside hitter McKenzie Adams, the reigning WAC Player of the Week, ranks third in the league in points (4.01) and kills (3.6) per set and seventh in digs per frame (3.66). The Schertz native has posted five double-doubles this fall, including her first career 20-20 match on Aug. 24 when she netted 26 kills and 20 digs in a five-set victory against UAB.
As a unit, the Roadrunners lead the WAC with 13.51 kills per panel, while freshman middle hitter Kylie Schott ranks second in the circuit with a .402 hitting percentage. Junior setter Brandy Huskey has guided UTSA to a .214 hitting percentage while handing out 10.29 assists per set (second WAC).
Meanwhile, senior outside hitter Whitney Walls became the 12th player with more than 1,000 kills in the program's history. The Arlington native enters Thursday's match with 1,014 winners during her three-plus seasons as a Roadrunner.
The Aggies (5-4) have lost their last three contests, including back-to-back sweeps by Saint Mary's and No. 22 Kansas State. Utah State leads the WAC with 3.04 blocks per frame, while freshman Elle Brainard and sophomore Kaitlyn Van Hoff sit at the top of the individual charts with 1.47 and 1.35 blocks per set, respectively. Brainard also leads the league with a .412 hitting percentage.
The Spartans (4-5) enter conference play having lost two of their last three outings, but they posted a five-set victory against Southern Utah at the Boise State Invitational last Saturday. San Jose State, which opens league play at Texas State on Thursday night, leads the WAC with 17.86 digs per set. Junior Hanah Blue is the league leader with 4.37 digs per frame, while freshman Michaela Leonard hands out a league-best 11.0 assists per panel.
Thursday night's contest will mark the third meeting between the Roadrunners and the Aggies with Utah State winning both previous matchups. The Aggies swept UTSA in the last matchup (Sept. 7, 2002) at the Texas Invitational in Austin. The two clubs have never met in San Antonio.
Meanwhile, the Spartans also own a 2-0 mark against the Birds, including a 3-1 decision in the last meeting (Sept. 8, 2006) at the New Hampshire Tournament. Saturday's match marks the first time the two teams have met in the Alamo City.