UTSA junior McKenzie Adams, a 2010 Steele graduate, was named Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Year by the league's head coaches Sunday night.
On Monday, Adams went out and demonstrated why she was accorded the honor by leading the Roadrunners to a sweep of San Jose State in the first round of the WAC tournament at UTSA's Convocation Center.
Adams, who transferred to UTSA last year after playing her freshman season at Virginia, finished with 13 kills, 15 digs and a .310 hitting percentage in the Roadrunners' 25-17, 25-18, 25-20 victory against the Spartans.
"It's a real good blessing and I'm happy to get it, but it doesn't mess with my head," Adams said when asked about her latest award. "I don't think about it. It's a great award to get.
"I'm proud but without my team, I wouldn't have gotten it. I think all of are focused on the now. We're not worried about any awards we're getting anything like that."
UTSA (21-8) plays Idaho (16-13) in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Convocation Center. Idaho, which finished the regular season tied for second with the Roadrunners, beat Texas State 3-1 in the first round.
UTSA, which has won eight consecutive matches, entered the tournament seeded No. 3.
"I think we realized that we needed to get our butts in gear," Adams said, referring to the run the Roadrunners' started with a sweep of Idaho on Oct. 25. "We knew the tournament was coming up, so we knew we had to start getting our focus right and making sure that we were mentally for everything that was coming to us."
WAC tournament final at 4 p.m. Wednesday
Adams, an outside hitter, made the All-WAC first team and was one of five UTSA players earning all-conference honors.
Freshman Annie Kunes was named Libero of the Year and was joined on the second team by senior Whitney Walls and junior Brandy Huskey. Kunes and Kylie Schott made the All-Freshman squad.
UTSA coach Laura Neugebauer-Groff praised Adams as much for her poise as her skills.
"Sometimes those kind of things, the monkey's on their back," Groff said. "I'm not sure -- I'd like to ask McKenzie -- but she might have been a little nervous out there. You sit there at last night's banquet and she got every honor you can imagine. That's a big load."
Adams is the fourth UTSA volleyball player in school history to earn player of the year honors, and first since Tamara Luckenmeyer was named Southland Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive season in 1999.
"When I came here, they welcomed me with open arms," Adams said. "As soon as I got here, they got me going. It was a blessing in disguise that I came here. I was really happy with it."
Adams led the WAC during the regular season with 4.88 points and 4.37 kills per set. She set the pace for UTSA with 19 double-doubles, including two 20-20 matches.
Adams had 26 kills and 20 digs against Alabama-Birmingham, and 23 digs and 20 kills at Seattle.
"She's like a freak of nature," Groff said. "She's just such a great athlete. Whatever she does, the girls just carry on. Even when she's playing bad, I tell her she needs to keep talking and keep that intensity. Not only is she the best player, she's also the spark plug. I think she understands that."
Kunes led the WAC with 5.39 digs per set, and she recorded double-digit digs in 15 of the 16 WAC matches in which she played. She had 20 or more digs in seven WAC matches.
Elle Brainard of Utah State was tabbed Freshman of the Year and Utah State's Grayson DuBose was named Coach of the Year.
The WAC tournament final is at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The winner advances to the NCAA tournament.