The Texas State volleyball team achieved victory in comeback fashion last Saturday at Strahan Coliseum against a UTSA force that had swept the Bobcats earlier in the season.
It was the second Saturday in a row Texas State rose from a 2-1 hole to claim a five-set triumph.
UTSA won the third 29-27, but lost the fourth sets 27-25 and 15-13, respectively.
The Roadrunners compiled three blocks, continually challenging Texas State at the net in the first set. UTSA’s smallest lead was six points and the Roadrunners hit an efficient .267 in route of a 25-19 first-set victory.
The Roadrunners were caught out of position on the back line several times because of their aggressive net play throughout the second set, which allowed the Bobcats to claim a 17-11 lead down the stretch. That lead was not relinquished and Texas State took a 25-20 victory.
Coach Karen Chisum said “spreading the ball around” after the first set was key.
“We made a very good adjustment of spreading the ball around,” Chisum said. “We can’t survive with just Alex Simms getting the ball. If you look at the second set, Ashlee (Hilbun) got the ball, Molly (Ahrens) got the ball, Amari (Deardorff) got the ball, and so everybody isn’t keying on one kid. I was proud of my setters for doing that.”
Every play mattered in the third set because extra points were required to settle the score.
Despite several advantages earned by the Bobcats, the Roadrunners were able to take a 2-1 set lead.
Sophomore setter Caylin Mahoney said that her mindset coming out of that third set was to fight until the end.
“The main thing is to never give up,” Mahoney said. “Just fight for the moment. It’s not a loss until the other team gets 25 or beats us by two.”
The Bobcats found themselves down 7-1 early in the fourth set from a strong UTSA defensive play. Texas State then strengthened its own defense and caught up, making the game a 15 tie.
Much like the third set, it came down to the final points, but this time the ball bounced in the Bobcats’ favor to tie the series at two.
Mahoney said coming back from the 2-1 deficit versus top-ranked New Mexico State University Oct. 13 really helped her mindset going into the fifth set against UTSA.
“Right before that fifth set I was like, ‘This is just like Texas State. We’re going to win this,’” Mahoney said. “’We can do the exact same thing now if we did it last week.’”
Coach Chisum echoed those sentiments.
“I think confidence was the key,” Chisum said. “I think coming back and winning that New Mexico State match was key because we were down in that one too. It was almost identical.”
The Bobcats finished the fifth set, bringing the record audience to its feet in applause.
With the win, the Bobcats moved into a three-way tie for fourth in the WAC with UTSA and the University of Denver.
Texas State will continue its three-game home stand upon returning to the Coliseum on Thursday, Oct. 25 to play against Seattle University at 6:30 p.m.
Follow Jordan Cole on Twitter: @TXStatesman