Miami volleyball drops back-and-forth thriller with FSU in five sets

Fifth year setter Savannah Vach and sophomore outside hitter Flormarie Heredia Colon go up to block FSU's back row hit at the begining of the third set at the Knight Sports Complex on October 4. Photo credit: Reese Putnam

Coming into the match with a three-game win streak, Miami volleyball headed into Wednesday night looking to keep their momentum going against in-state rival Florida State (11-6, 5-0 ACC). However, the Seminoles got the best of the Hurricanes, beating their rival in five sets 3-2.

The first set was back and forth, indicating how the rest of the match would play out. Freshman Grace Lopez shined early, logging six kills to put the ‘Canes out in front. Later in the set, a massive block by Redshirt Senior Angela Grieve and Sophomore Cianna Tejada had the packed Knight Sports Complex rocking, leading to an FSU timeout.

After the timeout, FSU managed to cut the deficit to just one, but UM ended up pulling it out by a score of 27-25.

Unfortunately for the ‘Canes, at the beginning of the second set, Graduate Student Abby Casiano went down with an apparent leg injury after diving to try and keep the ball alive. However, she was cheering on the bench for her teammates with a boot on her leg, hopefully a sign of a quick return.

Following the injury to Casiano, FSU took control of the set and managed to win it 25-20 despite a strong comeback effort by the Hurricanes.

Fifth-year Senior Savannah Vach was everywhere in the third set, diving for digs and reaching full extension for one-handed groups. Coming in for Casiano, Graduate Student Janice Leao was also dominant in this set, most notably with a block to put the ‘Canes up 23-22.

UM went on to win the set with the help of Sophomore Flormarie Heredia Colon slamming the door with the team’s last three kills to win the group, 25-22.

The fourth set saw FSU jump out to an early lead, which climbed as high as eight points due to many unforced errors by the ‘Canes. However, Miami responded by cutting the lead to three points, fueled by back-to-back blocks from Vach and Tejada. The comeback did fall short, and the Seminoles took the set, 25-20.

The must-win fifth set did not go as the Hurricanes had planned. FSU quickly leaped to a 7-2 lead, prompting a timeout from Coach Keno. Even after the timeout, it appeared the ‘Canes were out of gas, and Florida State took the set, 15-6, and the match 3-2.

Match leaders for the Hurricanes were Lopez with 23 kills, Vach with five blocks, Vach with 50 assists, and Sophomore Naylani Feliciano with 16 digs.

Next, UM (10-5, 3-2 ACC) will take on North Carolina State (13-2, 3-1 ACC) at home in the Knight Sports Complex on Friday at 7 p.m., looking to gain momentum before a brief two-game road stint.