Volleyball in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is competitive and physical, and wins are never easy to come by. On a Sunday afternoon in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Hurricanes needed grit and poise to get back to .500 in the ACC standings, as they defeated the Virginia Cavaliers, 3-1.
“I’m very happy with the way the girls battled today,” Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “They kept their composure throughout the match and were able to take control. Virginia was ready and they challenged us in the first set but I’m happy with the way we responded as a team. ACC road wins are hard to come by and today was no different.”
The Cavaliers (9-10, 1-7 ACC) were hungry for their second conference win this season. They held the lead for much of the first set, growing the margin to five points multiple times.
Down 20-15, the ‘Canes (11-8, 4-4 ACC) began mounting a comeback with four straight points. After some back-and-forth scoring, UM managed to tie it at 22 apiece.
However, the Cavaliers were not flustered by the pressure and scored three straight points to win the set, 25-22.
In the second set, the ‘Canes and Cavaliers traded leads with neither team able to pull away.
Nearing the finish line, Miami would score two straight points to claim a 24-21 lead and force Virginia to defend three set points, which it did to level the score at 24-all.
Miami had another set point that was saved again before Virginia had a set point of its own. The ‘Canes defended it off a kill by sophomore Nyah Anderson.
The Hurricanes would then have three more chances to close out the set with no luck until they finally won, 31-29, with a kill by Sophomore Peyman Yardimci. In total, Virginia saved eight straight set points before losing the ninth.
With the dramatic finale to the second set motivating the ‘Canes, they would rush to a 7-0 lead to start the third set. Virginia would claw its way back to within three points at 10-7, but the Hurricanes would proceed to blow them out of the water from there.
UM won 15 of the next 20 points to steamroll its way to a 25-12 set win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
However, the ‘Canes did not stop there. Before the dust of the third set had settled, Miami was already up 12-2 in the fourth. The match did not last much longer as the Hurricanes would take care of business, 25-7, in one of their most dominant sets of the season.
Individually, UM outpaced Virginia in nearly every major category. Redshirt junior Angela Grieve had a match-high 20 kills and shared the most aces with fellow teammate Yardimci, who had five. Senior Janice Leao was a force to be reckoned with at the net as she claimed an impressive 10 blocks.
Senior Savannah Vach once again led the match with 47 assists and had nine digs on the defensive side. Sophomore Yaidaliz Rosado led the ‘Canes with 14 digs.
UM faced adversity in the match early on but battled through it and were rewarded with a downhill third and fourth set. The win gives the Hurricanes much needed confidence as they get ready to face Wake Forest on Friday at the Knight Sports Complex. The match will begin at 7 p.m.