Volleyball Throws Block Party
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Behind a balanced attack and the third-most total blocks in school history, the University of Miami volleyball team defeated North Carolina, 3-1, on Sunday at the Knight Sports Complex. The Canes won their 14th straight at home and are currently riding a four-match winning streak.
UM won by set scores of 25-18, 27-25, 23-25 and 25-14 to improve to 14-3 on the year and 6-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while UNC dropped to 13-4 and 4-3. Miami sits in a tie for first in the standings with Florida State, a team the Canes defeated earlier in the season.
"A critical point in the match today was coming back in the second set after UNC took a lead," head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. "We showed a lot of resiliency there to take a 2-0 advantage, which was important. They put together a strong set in the third, but we were able to regroup with strong blocking and serving to win the fourth."
After winning the first handily, Miami fell behind 23-20 in the second. The Tar Heels then committed an attack error and sophomore middle blocker Alexis Mourning and junior outside hitter Taylor Hollins each put down kills to even the score at 23. Junior right side Alex Johnson recorded a service ace to give UM set point, but UNC won the next two exchanges to put themselves a point from evening the match. However, the Hurricanes fought back with a kill by Mourning, an attack error and a kill by Johnson to take a commanding 2-0 lead. The set included 12 ties and seven lead changes.
Up against the wall, North Carolina jumped out to a 16-10 advantage in the third and held off a furious UM rally to take a set. The visiting momentum would not carry over, as Miami took a 10-4 lead and registered six blocks in the fourth to take the match.
Mourning registered a career-high 10 block assists in the match, one off the school record set by Ciara Michel at Virginia Tech in 2004. As a team, the Canes had 18.0 total blocks, tied for the third-most in a match in program history. Senior setter Nrithya Sundararaman (seven) matched her career high and sophomore middle blocker Emani Sims set a new season best (eight) at the net.
Johnson and Sims led Miami with 10 kills on the day, while Hollins and Mourning had nine each. Hollins also led the team with 10 digs and Sundararaman registered 40 assists. Twelve different players saw action for the Canes.
"We had some little adjustments throughout the match that we wanted to throw out there to spark a run," Lantagne Welch said. "Our bench played great today and they have continued to lift us."
Chaniel Nelson had a match-high 12 kills for UNC, while Cora Harms recorded 40 assists, 13 digs and six kills.
Miami will hit the road next weekend with matches against Maryland and Boston College on Friday and Sunday.
The UM Ticket Office is pleased to offer single game tickets to home volleyball matches at the Knight Complex for as low as $3. Call 1-800-GO-CANES to order your tickets today.
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