NORMAL, Ill. - The University of Miami volleyball team used a late rally in the second set and a career-high 20-kill performance from junior outside hitter Taylor Hollins to defeat Oregon State University, 3-1, on Friday in the opener of the Redbird Classic on the campus of Illinois State University. The Canes improved to 5-0 on the season and have now won 22 straight non-conference regular season matches.
Miami won by the set scores of 25-23, 26-24, 19-25 and 25-23. Oregon State, a member of the volleyball-rich Pac-12, fell to 2-2 on the early season.
"We are proud of our ability to gut out this win," said head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. "Oregon State had us out of sync at times - they are quite different from us - but we stayed with it and won the key points by playing aggressive."
Hollins, who leads the team with 81 kills on the year, picked up her fourth double-double in five matches with 16 digs in an all-around effort. Junior right side Alex Johnson also notched a double-double with 17 digs and 11 kills, while junior libero Ryan Shaffer collected a team-high 28 digs.
"Taylor was big for us today, carrying us offensively and with her all-around play," Lantagne Welch continued. "Ryan also had a great match. She dug a ton of balls and passed solid, especially in critical moments."
The two Illinois natives on Miami each made major contributions in the win. Senior setter Nrithya Sundararaman racked up 50 assists to lead the offense, while sophomore middle blocker Emani Sims totaled nine kills and four block assists.
Down 24-22 in the second set, the Canes fought back to win the next four points to take a 2-0 advantage in the match. Sophomore Savanah Leaf converted the final two kills in the rally.
The Hurricanes took the first set with Johnson nailing down three kills in the final four UM points. After the Beavers responded to win the third frame, the Canes jumped out to a 16-10 lead the fourth and held on late to earn the victory. A block by Leaf and Sims ended the match in favor of the orange and green.
The Hurricanes will return to Redbird Arena on Saturday to play matches against Illinois State (11 a.m.) and Presbyterian (5:30 p.m.).
Miami has won the opening set in three of its five matches ... head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch has used the same starting lineup in all five matches ... UM has needed more than 25 points to win a set twice this season ... Miami converted 18 kills in the second set ... the Canes have won their last 11 neutral site contests ... it was the first-ever match for Miami in the state of Illinois and the first against Oregon State.
The ticket office is pleased to offer season tickets for both volleyball and soccer for just $50. Season tickets to the home volleyball schedule at the Knight Complex can be purchased for $35, with single match tickets available for as low as $3. Call 1-800-GO-CANES to order your tickets today.For all the latest information on the Miami Hurricanes, follow the official Twitter feed, @HurricaneSports, or "Like Us" on Facebook at facebook.com/MiamiHurricanes. Follow @CanesVB on Twitter for specific news on UM volleyball.