Friday nights are mostly a rowdy scene in bustling Miami. Still, the Knight Sports Complex in Coral Gables jumped around like no other building as Hurricanes volleyball fans backed their ‘Canes en route to defeating the visiting Maryland Terrapins three sets to one.
“Category five, just not only coming but bringing people in, more young players are coming to the games,” Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “The community is showing up, which means the world to the players.”
Maryland, a former member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, wouldn’t begin to gel on the court against its former conference foe until much later in the match.
The tempo was back and forth early, but Miami’s first set lead expanded until it nearly doubled Maryland, with the Hurricanes taking the opening set 25-13.
“Transferring what we see from practice to game day,” Gandara said about what he hopes to see from his team early in the season. “It’s mostly being able to play like we have been training.”
After one set, the ‘Canes and the ‘Terps flipped their sides of the gym, but the move would hardly make a difference in the outcome as Miami won the set 25-22.
Returning middle blocker, Janice Leao led the way for the Hurricanes with five block attempts, while the Massachusetts native added 12 kills.
“I really like the way Janice played. I thought she was efficient,” Gandara said.
Maryland (0-1) would not leave the Knight Sports Complex without any victories, as its kill by senior outside hitter Sam Csire gave the Terrapins the third set 25-21. Still, with a favorable hit percentage of 37.4% to Maryland’s 26.2%, Miami finished the Terrapins off in the fourth set with a 25-23 margin to take the match.
Turkish hitter Peyman Yardimci led the way for Miami with 14 kills, while senior Angel Grieve and sophomore Flormarie Heredia Colon earned 13 kills. Maryland senior Samantha Schnitta added 16 kills, while Wisconsin native Sydney Dowler had 35 assists to her fellow Terrapins.
“Overall … exciting. We need to clean up some things, but overall, it was a good first night,” Gandara said.
Wrapping up the Canes Classic, Maryland will face Lamar at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow in Coral Gables. At the same time, Miami will return to the Knight Sports Complex at 6:00 p.m. Saturday to face crosstown rival FIU in another best-of-five matchup.