Charlotte (19-10, 6-7 C-USA) beat UTSA for the first time 3-1 to get a bid into the conference tournament next week, through quite an incredible performance.
Yumi Garcia, with 19 digs in that match broke a school record to both make history for herself and for her team. In just the seventh rally of the evening, Garcia had two digs to send her over the previous record set in 2008 of 571 digs by Carly Romberg. Her 19 digs now set her at only five digs away from becoming part of C-USA’s top 20 for digs within a single season as well as putting herself only away 11 from the 600 club.
The single win by the Roadrunners followed one of four very competitive sets in which Alex Boone had a kill to bring Charlotte up to 21-20 over UTSA, then Janell Sparks managed to push it up 23-23 after a whole seven more plays. Unfortunate mistakes by some Niners led to a UTSA win for that set.
Down a set and down 1 at a score of 14-13 in the second set, it was here that Charlotte would begin their comeback in not only the set, but for the night too.
A six-point run included two aces by Sofie Perrens, Sparks with a kill and combo block by Boone. Jocelyn Stoner hacked down a kill to give Charlotte a 19-14 lead before a combo block and a solo block by Sydney Rowan would bring it to 22-17. Shortly after, two kills by Rowan and a last block by Janelle Curtiss and Tatyana Thomas leveled out the match to 1-1.
The Niners continued their push for a win in the third, starting their continuous lead at 14-14. Rowan would have two back-to-back kills prior to 2 more from Thomas and another block and assist from Cutriss would force UTSA into a timeout as Charlotte gained their 18-15 advantage. The Roadrunners would then get only as close as a score of 19-17 behind their opponent . Some errors now by UTSA would hurt them and then a block by Curtiss and Boone led the Niners to 2-1.
Charlotte certainly committed to a win and did not let up in the slightest. They very quickly surged into a 10-5 lead over the Roadrunners prior to finishing off the night and their win with a whopping 28-15 set. Charlotte’s first 15 points of the set were essentially products of their tremendous defense which forced UTSA into quite a few errors. The Roadrunners would have a grand 30 errors to Charlotte’s 11.
Rowan and Sparks’ kill pushed the lead up to 16-13. Stoners’ kill and Taylor Berg’s first kill of the season rose the score to 20-15 when UTSA went into yet another timeout. Thomas would help on Charlotte’s last three kills of the evening, collaborating with Curtiss for another combo block and then setting up Rowan in order to clinch the match with her final kill of the game.
Charlotte’s defense would also hold UTSA to a .155 hitting night while they hit for .343 within their own first set and for .458 in the third, ending the game with a .312 hitting night. The defense would also lead with a tremendous 18-3 in blocks over their opponent.
Among a few Niners with double digits in the game, Rowan would lead with 18 kills, Sparks then with 13 and Thomas with 10. Perrens would rack up 24 assists and Mackenzie Reaume would contribute 22. Rowan would end the night with her 13th double-double through 12 digs and and her 18 kills. Boone would match her own career highs with a solo block and nine assists for 10 in the nights.
The Niners had a quite comeback and a most tremendous performance and will continue their run in the regular season Saturday, Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. against Florida Atlantic.