Miami volleyball opened Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play this weekend at the Knight Sports Complex, falling to second-ranked Louisville, 3-0, on Friday before bouncing back against Notre Dame, 3-2, on Sunday.
In front of a sold-out crowd on Friday night against the Cardinals, Miami had late leads in the second and third sets, but couldn’t hold on.
After dropping the first set 25-12, the Hurricanes went back and forth with Louisville in the second, until senior Abby Casiano’s kill sparked a 4-0 run that put UM up 14-10. Later, a block from senior Janice Leao gave the ‘Canes a 19-16 advantage, but the Cardinals stormed back, taking six of the next seven points to take the set, 26-24.
The third set also went down to the wire, as Miami erased a three-point deficit late in the set to tie it at 23-all. However, Louisville won the next two points to take the match.
“I’m proud of how the team remained resilient to keep the second and third sets extremely close against a top-five team,” Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said in a Miami Athletics release. “We have to give credit to Louisville for playing an excellent game. The ACC is full of elite teams, which will make for an exciting rest of the conference schedule.”
Freshman Flormarie Heredia Colon had a team-high eight kills, and sophomore Yaidaliz Rosario paced Miami with 11 digs, her fifth-straight match with double-digit digs.
On Sunday afternoon, the ‘Canes secured their first ACC win against Notre Dame in a five-set thriller.
Miami started off hot, dominating the first two sets 25-13 and 25-12, respectively. The Fighting Irish refused to back down, though, and rallied to force a fifth set, where Colon’s kill clinched the set, 15-13, and the match.
The Hurricanes put up a season-high 71 kills against Notre Dame, with redshirt junior Angela Grieve leading the way with 18.
“I’m proud of how our girls stayed focused throughout the match,” Gandara said. “Give credit to Notre Dame. They showed a lot of fight, but I’m happy with the way our team stepped up in the fifth set to give us the win.”
In addition to Grieve, setter Savannah Vach excelled, posting 55 assists and a season-high 22 digs. She also recorded two kills and four blocks.
Miami held late leads in the third and fourth sets, but the Fighting Irish came back each time. In the third, UM led 21-20 before Notre Dame went on a 4-0 run and in the fourth, the Hurricanes were up 20-12 before faltering.
The fifth set was as close as can be, featuring seven ties and two lead changes. This time, the ‘Canes found themselves on top.
“Volleyball is a game of momentum,” Gandara said. “Especially in our conference, you always have to keep the pressure on and play well. It’s a long season and each match presents a different challenge.”
Next up, UM faces the University of North Carolina on Sept. 30 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The match is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.