CLEMSON, S.C. - Behind one of the most impressive performances in program history by sophomore middle blocker Emani Sims, No. 24 Miami volleyball held off upset-minded Clemson in five sets on Friday inside Jervey Gym. Sims recorded her first career double-double with 16 kills and a school-record 16 total blocks.
"We knew it was going to be a great test and we knew that Clemson is a great team," head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. "We were able to stay together and put together a great team effort."
The ACC-leading Canes (17-3, 9-1 ACC) extended their winning streak to seven by the scores of 25-23, 21-25, 25-20, 23-25 and 15-11. Clemson dropped to 14-7 overall and 5-5 in the conference, suffering only its second home defeat of the year.
The Hurricanes, who entered the weekend ranked first in the ACC in blocks, tallied a program-record 23.0 total team blocks against the Tigers. The previous best was 21.0 set against Florida State in 2005.
Sims, who won ACC Player of the Week on Oct. 1 and was named Preseason All-ACC, accounted for 25.0 points on the night, including nine kills and four blocks in the fourth set. Junior right side Alex Johnson (15 kills, 20 digs), junior outside hitter Taylor Hollins (14 kills, 14 digs) and sophomore Savanah Leaf (11 kills, 12 digs) also notched double-doubles in the match.
"Emani was just incredible at the net tonight," Lantagne Welch said. "They have some fantastic hitters on the other side and it was impressive how she was able to shut them down. It was a big statement because they are such a great blocking team and we were able to out-block them."
Senior setter Nrithya Sundararaman totaled a season-high 55 assists for the UM.
Miami took the first set behind five kills and nine digs from Hollins, with Leaf also adding five kills of her own. After the teams split the first 22 points, the Canes took three of the next four points to go up 15-12 and never lost the advantage from there. The lead grew to as much as 19-14 to force the Tigers to take a timeout. Following, UM held off the hosts with Leaf slamming a kill to end it and give Miami the 1-0 lead.
However, Clemson responded in the second set with a late run to even the match at one heading into intermission.
In the third, Miami jumped out to a 15-8 lead to pull the momentum back and force a Clemson timeout. The Tigers could only get to as close as four points, as a kill by Johnson off a free ball put UM up 2-1.
It looked as though the Canes would take the fourth set after reaching 20 first at 20-18, but Clemson rallied to win seven of the next 10 points to send UM to its third five-set match of the season. It was the second-straight time Miami had gone the distance, defeating Boston College on Oct. 14.
In the deciding fifth set, the teams went back and forth to bring the count to six apiece. From there, the Hurricanes won the next three points on a kill and block by sophomore middle blocker Alexis Mourning and a bad CU set. After Lantagne Welch took a timeout with a lead of 9-8, UM sealed the win with a 6-3 run. Leaf put down a kill to give the Canes their first win at Jervey Gym since 2010.
The Hurricanes will continue their road trip on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Georgia Tech. The match will be carried live on RSN, including FS South, FS Florida, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, NESN, FS Arizona Plus, FS San Diego, FS Prime Ticket and ESPN3.
The Canes are now 11-5 when playing as a ranked team ... Miami started 23-3 last season ... it was the team-leading 14th double-double of the season for Hollins ... five starters reached double-digit kills ... Sundararaman needs 59 assists to reach 2,000 for her career ... UM has won its last three on the road and is 16-0 when holding a high hitting percentage than the opponent.
23.0 total team blocks
SEASON TEAM HIGH
INDIVIDUAL CAREER HIGHS
Giampaolo - 4 digs
Johnson - 6 blocks (tied)
Sims - 16 total blocks, 3 digs (tied)
Sundararaman - 8 total blocks
INDIVIDUAL SEASON HIGHS
Johnson - 20 digs, 5 assists
Sundararaman - 55 assists
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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