Volleyball Notes Vs. Stetson

Sept. 25, 2002

Coral Gables, Fla. (www.hurricanesports.com) – Miami Hurricanes look to stay undefeated as the Stetson Hatters come to town.

Undefeated in the last 22
The University of Miami volleyball team (11-0) enters tonight’s contest vs. Stetson as one of seven undefeated teams in Division I. With 22 wins between the 2001 and 2002 seasons, Miami also boasts the longest win streak in the country.

The Hurricanes last loss came against FIU on Oct. 5, 2001. Last season’s inaugural club ended the year riding an 11-match win streak to finish at 17-7.

The Stetson Hatters
Stetson enters tonight’s contest at 4-8 on the 2002 season. The Hatters won their last contest, 3-2, over San Francisco at the Falcon Invitational in Colorado Springs, Col. Stetson pulled out the hard fought victory with an 18-16 decision in the decisive fifth game to avoid getting swept at the tournament. Stetson had fallen to host-Air Force (3-0) and Hofstra (3-0) to begin play. Two of Stetson’s victories have come against Bethune-Cookman (3-2) on Sept. 13 and (3-0) on Sept. 17. SU defeated Georgia Southern (3-0) on Sept. 14.

Sophomore coach
UM coach Nicole Lantagne Welch is entering her second year as head coach of the Hurricanes’ program, which was restored after a 20-year hiatus.

Lantagne Welch was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference setter for Maryland in 1992 and 1993. As a graduate assistant, she coached at Ohio University until 1997 when she became a full-time assistant at Texas A&M.

The Aggies finished ranked in the top 20 during and qualified for the NCAA tournament during each of Lantagne Welch’s three seasons in College Station. In 1999, Texas A&M advanced to the elite eight of the NCAA tournament and compiled a 28-6 record. The Aggies finished ninth in the nation that season.

Youth movement
With the exception of outstanding senior outside hitter Marcela Gamarra, the Hurricanes’ success has been engineered almost exclusively be freshmen and sophomores. Sophomore libero player Jamie Grass (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) is fourth in digs among BIG EAST teams with 154 (4.05 per game). Meanwhile, Tipiana has been selected tournament MVP at both the Wichita State Tournament and the Florida International Fall Volleyball Classic. Freshman setter Margie Young was Freshman middle blocker Karla Johnson (Houston, Texas/Westfield HS) is among the top 10 in the BIG EAST in blocks per game with 42.0 (an average of 1.11).

Into the BIG EAST Conference
Miami begins competition in BIG EAST Conference play this weekend as the it travels to Boston College and Providence on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. In fact, the Hurricanes begin their first four conferences matches on the road, the following weekend at Villanova and Georgetown. UM’s first home BIG EAST match comes on Oct. 11 against Rutgers.

Last season as a Division I Independent, the first-year Hurricanes claimed victories over conference opponents Pittsburgh (3-1) and St. John’s (3-0).

Miami in the BIG EAST Statistics
Senior outside hitter Marcela Gamarra (Medellin, Colombia/Miami-Dade CC) is second in the BIG EAST Conference in kills with 167 and is averaging 4.39 per game.

Freshman middle blocker Karla Johnson (Houston, Texas/Westfield HS) is seventh in blocks. She is averaging 1.11 blocks and has a total of 42.0 to date.

Sophomore libero player Jamie Grass is fourth among BIG EAST Conference players in digs with 4.05 per game and a total of 154.

Sophomore outside hitter Valeria Tipiana (Lima, Peru/Cristo Rey Catholic HS) was selected the BIG EAST Player of the Week on Sept. 2 after earning MVP honors at UM’s first four victories at the Wichita State Shocker Volleyball Tournament.

Freshman setter Margie Young (Santa Monica, Calif./Marymount HS) tied a BIG EAST record Sept. 13 when she generated 73 assists in the Hurricanes’ five-game win over arch-rival Florida State at the FIU Fall Classic. She was selected the BIG EAST Conference’s Co-Rookie of the Week on Sept. 16.