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Game Two Heroics Sweep Hurricanes Past Jacksonville State

Sept. 9, 2005

Box Score

CORAL GABLES, <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team’s late heroics in game two helped them sweep past JacksonvilleState, 3-0 (30-24, 33-31, 30-25), in the opening match of the fifth annual Hurricane Invitational Friday evening at the Knight Sports Complex. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>


The Hurricanes improve to 4-0 overall and extend their winning streak, that dates back to last season, to five matches, while the Gamecocks fall to 2-3 on the season.


Miami was led by senior outside hitter Karla Johnson and redshirt junior middle blocker Francheska Savage. Johnson recorded a match-high 18 kills, which helped maintain her ACC-leading average at above six kills per game (6.13). Savage tallied 14 kills while committing only one error for a match-high .591 hitting percentage. Both players posted three total blocks (1BS, 2BA).


“Frannie played a great match,” said head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. “Offensively, she really stole the show and that was very needed for our team. Obviously, Karla continues to battle out there for us.”


Defensively, junior libero Ann Gallo notched a match-high 13 digs while redshirt sophomore middle blocker Ciara Michel led all players with five total blocks (2BS, 3BA).


The performance of the bench also impressed Lantagne Welch, “I thought we had very nice production from Michelle Bruin to come in and make some solid passes and really solidify things in the back court for us as well as Angelica [Ellis] coming in and adding a little spark in the front row.”


The Hurricanes capitalized on 11 JacksonvilleState miscues to claim a 30-24 first game victory. The Gamecocks only led for the first two points before an attack error put the Hurricanes up 5-4, giving them a lead that they never surrendered. 


Jacksonville State responded to their first game loss by running away with a 10-6 lead at the start of game two. The Hurricanes battled but could only get as close as four points as a Shari Weyer kill brought the Gamecocks to match point. On the cusp of losing the game with the score at 29-25, the Hurricanes capitalized on two Savage kills and two Jacksonville State attacking errors to tie the score at 29-all. The teams battled toe to toe as the four tied scores indicated but the Gamecocks could not keep the fired-up Hurricane squad at bay as they used back-to-back kills from Johnson and junior setter Jill Robinson to claim the 33-31 victory.


The Hurricanes once again found themselves in a 10-6 hole to start the third game but inspired play by Savage, who notched three kills in a row, helped Miami tie the score at 16-all. Miami took the lead for good by going on a 6-0 run that included two kills by Johnson and a Robinson service ace. The Hurricanes took advantage of three back-to-back JacksonvilleState errors to claim a 30-25 win and the match. 


In a match laden by errors on both sides of the court, the Hurricanes still held the advantage hitting .252 while holding the Gamecocks to a .128 hitting percentage. Miami also out blocked JSU 12.0 to 6.0.  


“We didn’t play our best volleyball tonight but we battled and we got down and we came back every time we were in that situation,” concluded Lantagne Welch. “I’m very proud of the team for fighting and finding a way to pull it out. Hopefully we can just build on this and sharpen up our game.”


The Hurricane Invitational concludes tomorrow with two matches at the Knight Sports Complex. JacksonvilleState will square off with Xavier at 11:00 a.m. before the Hurricanes take on Xavier for the 7:30 p.m. nightcap.