Hurricanes drop first match of season to Eagles

Photo credit: Josh Halper

Following a dominant victory on opening night, the Hurricanes volleyball team struggled in their second game of the 2018 Sunshine State Challenge.

Miami dropped three consecutive sets to the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles 20-25, 18-25, 22-25 to lose its first match of the year.

After Chloe Brown’s spectacular collegiate debut, the freshman struggled. Brown just tallied five kills on 28 attempts after having 19 kills the night prior.

“I don’t think she was in as many positions to score as she was last night,” coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “Chloe did a pretty good job relative to the situation she was in, but she wasn’t able to get a lot of kills.”

Outside hitters Cortney VanLiew and Amanda Carroll led the attack for FGCU (2-1). VanLiew and Carroll combined for 30 kills and 17 digs.

Hurricanes’ outside hitter Kolby Bird paced UM (1-1) with 11 kills but couldn’t get her team back into the match as the Eagles controlled the contest.

“I think we got a little too overconfident after last night,” Bird said. “We’re still new. We’re trying to find our groove and we are learning how to gel together.”

Redshirt senior setter Haley Templeton led the Canes with 27 assists in the match.

“[The seniors] have to really step up this year and be leaders,” Bird, who is one of three seniors on the squad, said. “I love being a leader and I think it’s fun to teach them everything.”

Despite such a young Miami team, Gandara believes UM has the talent to fill holes left from last season, including the departure of 2017 ACC Player of the Year Olga Strantzali.

“We love Olga,” Gandara said. “We wish we had her, but it’s a whole different team. We aren’t going to replace her, but we have some talent that can definitely make up for Olga’s talent. The freshmen are pretty composed, and they are ready to learn.”

FGCU will look to keep its winning streak alive in the LOBO Classic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Eagles next match will be against the New Mexico State Aggies 12:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Johnson Center.

Miami returns to the court against the University of Central Florida Knights 7:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at the James L. Knight Sports Complex.