CORAL GABLES, Fla. - After playing the last two weekends on the road in the state of North Carolina, No. 24 Miami volleyball returns home to complete its home regular season schedule against Boston College (Friday, 7 p.m.) and Maryland (Sunday, 1 p.m.). The Hurricanes are a perfect 11-0 at the Knight Sports Complex this year and will be looking to complete an unblemished home season for the first time under head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch.
"Certainly one of our goals this season was to take care of home court," said Lantagne Welch, who is in her 12th season at the helm of the program. "We are looking forward to being home again and welcoming in Boston College and Maryland this weekend. We have respect for both of those programs and had tough road matches against both earlier this season."
Miami (23-4, 15-2) has won its last 16 at home dating back to last season, with 12 of the victories coming over ACC opponents. The only other team in program history to win all its matches at home was the 1980 squad (5-0). UM is one of 17 teams across the nation undefeated at its gym this year.
Coming into the weekend, the Canes are tied with Florida State atop the league standings with three regular season matches remaining. Following the matches against Boston College and Maryland, Miami will travel to face the Seminoles Nov. 23 on ESPN3.
This weekend the team will honor senior setter Nrithya Sundararaman with a ceremony prior to the match Sunday. The lone senior on the roster, she has played in 89 matches for UM over four years. Primarily playing as a setter, Sundararaman ranks third in program history with 2,188 career assists and enters the weekend leading the ACC with 10.63 assists per set this season. With postseason selections upcoming, she will be looking to qualify for the NCAA Tournament four times, something no other UM senior class has done.
In addition to her success on the court, Sundararaman has excelled even more in the classroom. Maintaining a 3.90 GPA as a neurobiology major, she was recently named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team. After graduation she plans to attend medical school and become a doctor.
"Nrithya has had a great senior year," Lantagne Welch said. "She has made a lot of progress in her career and has put in the hard work, overcoming obstacles along the way. To see someone flourishing in their senior year is exactly what you want."
Miami, who is No. 21 in the NCAA RPI, has won 13 of its last 14 matches, including a sweep at Wake Forest and a five-set win over Duke most recently. Against the Blue Devils, the Canes trailed 14-12 in the final set, staring down two match points. However, junior Taylor Hollins slammed down a kill and classmate Alex Johnson laid in an ace to even the set at 14. With the momentum reclaimed, Hollins recorded two more kills to give UM its eighth road win of the season.
"We have shown resiliency, confidence and calmness all season in pressure moments," Lantagne Welch said. "However, we want to put ourselves in situations where we don't have to do that, but we know we can if our backs are against the wall. That's a great thing to have in your team."
Boston College (10-19, 4-13) has dropped its last 10 matches coming into the weekend. The Eagles took the Canes to five sets at Power Gym on Oct. 14, with Johnson (16 kills, 17 digs) collecting a double-double to lead Miami. The Canes have taken the last nine meetings against BC.
Maryland (16-13, 7-10), who is on a four-match winning streak, will take on Florida State prior to facing Miami. The Terrapins are in the midst of a season-ending five-match road trip, holding a record of 6-5 away from Comcast Pavilion this year. UM has won the last nine over Maryland, including a sweep on Oct. 12. Sophomore Savanah Leaf had a match-high 13 kills in the contest, as Miami recorded a .325 team hitting percentage.
NCAA RESUME (courtesy ACC)
|RPI: 21||Non-Conf. RPI: 41|
|SOS: 56||Non-Conf. SOS: 50|
|Home: 11-0||vs. Top 25 RPI: 2-2|
|Away: 8-4||vs. Top 50 RPI: 4-2|
|Neutral: 4-0||vs. Top 100 RPI: 13-4|
|Last 10: 9-1||vs. Top 150 RPI: 20-4|
- 2011 second round participant Miami is ranked No. 24 in the AVCA Poll and has been as high as No. 23. The Hurricanes have received votes every week this season.
- The Hurricanes are currently tied with Florida State for the top spot in the conference and hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 3-1 victory on Sept. 7.
- The Hurricanes have two wins over RPI Top 25 and four over Top 50 opponents: (10) Florida State, (18) North Carolina, and (43) NC State twice.
- Good RPI losses include a 3-1 defeat at (5) Louisville and falling at (18) North Carolina.
- The Hurricanes have won nine of their last 10 matches, are 8-2 against nonconference opponents, and have 10 sweeps this season.
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