Panthers to play UTSA in C-USA tournament

On Saturday, Nov. 14, the Florida International University women’s volleyball team defeated the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers; clinching the seventh seed in the Conference USA Tournament.

The Panthers are set to face off against the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners, who enter as the second seed. The tournament will take place in San Antonio and begins on Friday, Nov. 20, at 12 p.m.

FIU (15-12, 9-7 in C-USA) enters this match on a two-game winning streak, defeating Louisiana Tech University before the 49ers. After losing their final match of the regular season, the Roadrunners now have a record of 22-8, 13-3 in C-USA.

Earlier this season, the Panthers squared off against the Roadrunners, falling in four sets with scores of 17-25, 27-25, 9-25 and 17-25. The team struggled offensively; nearly committing as many errors as kills and finishing with a hitting percentage of .020.

UTSA didn’t allow any Panther to reach double-figure kills. They held senior outside hitter, Lucia Castro, to only four kills. Castro has consistently been FIU’s threat offensively throughout the season.

Junior outside hitter Dajana Boskovic finished the a match-high 21 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Marijeta Runjic added 15 kills in a UTSA offense that was clicking on all cylinders.

The Roadrunners are at the top of several statistics in the conference. They are third in hitting percentage (.247), second in opponent hitting percentage (.162) and service aces (1.44 per set), and fourth in blocks (2.32 per set) and digs (15.73 per set).

Meanwhile, the Panthers are leading the conference in blocks (2.51 per set), fourth in service aces (1.35 per set) and fifth in opponent hitting percentage (.183).

Boskovic has been the engine driving this UTSA team. She is second in the conference in total points (5.16 per set) and third in kills (4.53 per set). Boskovic has won her fourth-straight C-USA Offensive Player of the Week award, giving her five for her career. This past week she finished with 42 kills and a hitting percentage of .315.

Freshman setter Amanda Gonzales has also been winning weekly conference awards the past month. Gonzales was named C-USA Freshman of the Week, giving her four this season. She posted 47 assists against the University of Southern Mississippi as she surpassed 40 assists for the ninth time this season.

The Panthers will need to contain UTSA’s potent offense if they wish to advance to the semi-final round of the C-USA tournament for the second time in three years. They will play the winner of Rice University and Southern Miss.

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