Canes continue streak after 3-1 win over UNC

Redshirt sophomore, Emani Sims, stretches to spike the ball against NC State on the game on Friday. Zach Beeker // Staff Photographer
Redshirt sophomore, Emani Sims, stretches to spike the ball against NC State on the game on Friday. Zach Beeker // Staff Photographer

Talk about a home court advantage.

With a weekend sweep over North Carolina State and UNC, the Miami Hurricanes volleyball team has won 25 of their last 26 games at the Knight Sports Complex, including a 14-game winning streak that dates back to Oct. 16 of last year, a loss to Georgia Tech.

Miami (14-3, 6-1 ACC) was right back at it Sunday afternoon, hosting the Tar Heels, who came in at 13-3 overall and 4-2 in the ACC, having just been swept by Florida State Friday night. Despite the Tar Heels’ taller front line, Miami came out strong and aggressive from the beginning, led by junior Alex Johnson and sophomore Emani Sims 10 blocks, and put together a 4-set victory, 25-18, 27-25, 25-23 and 25-14.

Sims, coming off ACC Player of the Week honors, has impressed her coach with her versatility of the floor.

“She’s able to make herself available on both transition and serve-receive to be a force in the middle,” head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said.

The Hurricanes began the weekend with a 4-set win over ACC leader N.C. State Friday night, winning 25-23, 25-17, 20-25 and 25-15.

“We beat a great team that was on a huge winning streak and knows how to win,” Lantagne Welch said. “I thought we played some nice volleyball and put together a nice defensive effort.”

Alexis Mourning led the offensive attack for the Canes, recording a match high 13 kills. Taylor Hollins played another consistent outing, recording her 12th double-double of the season with 12 kills and 10 digs. Senior setter Nrithya Sundararama helped anchor the offense with 36 assists, while junior libero Ryan Shaffer continued her strong defensive play with a season-high 30 digs.

Miami had dramatic moments throughout the weekend, including set wins over N.C. State and UNC when trailing 23-20, and a 16-6 run in set 2 against NC State, showcasing the team’s offensive capabilities.

The weekend sweep may possibly vault Miami into the top 25 polls as the team has now rattled off a four-game winning streak over the course of two weeks after falling at Virginia Tech on Sept. 23.

The 14-3 mark and tie atop the ACC standings is an impressive spot for Miami, who graduated one of the best senior classes in program history highlighted by 2nd team All-American Lane Carico.

The Hurricanes will travel for the next four matches, a road trip that includes Maryland, Boston College, Clemson and Georgia Tech.

The next home game for  Miami will be a rematch against Virginia Tech on Oct. 26.