Broncs end tournament on high note
A new volleyball season commenced over the weekend, with the Broncs going 1-2 at Hilton Invitational in Arlington. That was just a warm-up for this week, when UTPA (1-2) will play its first home game, Aug. 28 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 6:30 p.m. in the Field House. The opening games showed promise, with several outstanding individual efforts.
Broncs Drop Season Opener (Game 1)
Despite Krysta Freitas’ stellar performance Friday night, the Broncs lost their eighth consecutive season opener, falling short to the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks 3-2 at the UTA Hilton Invitational at College Park Center. Freitas recorded her first career double-double with a career-high 15 kills and 16 digs, including the set-winning kill that set up a decisive fifth set.
The Broncs took the first set 25-23, but the Ladyjacks answered right back with a dominating performance to take the next set 25-17 to tie up the match. UTPA was were down by four points late in the third set but a flurry of points by both teams brought the Broncs within one. Junior Nycole Masaki shined for the Broncs, as she had 38 assists along with eight digs and two service aces. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome their deficit as the teams continued to trade points until SFA put it out of reach by scoring the final three points to win 25-19 and take a 2-1 lead.
The Broncs led late in the final set 11-10, but a service error tied the game and the Ladyjacks recaptured the lead 12-11 shortly after. The foes continued back and forth until Sabrina Burns scored the final two points to give the Ladyjacks the win, 15-13. Senior Juri Franzen had a game-high 32 digs to go with four assists.
No bounce-back against UTA (Game 2)
Another career-high setting game wasn’t enough for the Broncs to be able to get past the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks; they fell 3-1 on the second day of the Arlington event.
Diara Reynolds dominated the net with a career-high 12 kills in the loss. With the match tied 1-1, Reynolds gave the Broncs new life in the third set by recording four kills to knot the game at 18. The Mavericks, however, scored the final seven points to win 25-18.
The Broncs were one point away from tying the match at 2-2 as they led the Mavericks 24-22 late in the fourth set. The visitor had been trailing all set long until sparking a 17-8 run to achieve the lead. Nonetheless, they weren’t able to hang on as the Mavericks scored four straight points to win the set 26-24.
Freshman Haley Durham helped the Broncs to a 25-12 win in the second set with four kills, two service aces and a block. Masaki recorded 38 assists for the second straight game along with six digs, three kills and two blocks.
A sweep of Savannah State (Game 3)
The Broncs left the Hilton Invitational on a high note by blanking the Savannah State University Tigers 3-0 on Saturday at College Park Center.
The Broncs brought their “A” game to the finale and posted their best hitting percentage of the tournament at .268, recording 32 kills with only 10 errors in 82 attempts. Senior Franzen started the first set with a service ace to score the first point in the match. Freshman Haley Durham would follow with a kill and a service error by the Tigers quickly put the Broncs up 3-0. The Broncs had a commanding win over the Tigers in the first set as they pulled away with a 25-9 victory.
Sophomore Freitas had the team best hitting percentage with .545 along with six kills, five service aces and no errors in 11 attempts. The Broncs were relentless as they took the second set with a 25-10 victory.
The Tigers only lead in the match came in the third set at 1-0. However, the Broncs scored nine straight including three service aces by Freitas to pull away with a win of 25-17.
Freshman Kasey Sanchez of San Benito High School and Jessica Martinez of Edinburg North High School saw their first collegiate action. Sanchez recorded one kill and four digs in all three sets while Martinez only played for one set, recording a block.