Miami Tops Xavier in Five Game Thriller to Claim Hurricane Invitational
Sept. 10, 2005
CORAL GABLES, <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team won their second tournament in a row when they outlasted Xavier, 3-2 (30-23, 27-30, 30-21, 22-30, 15-10), in the championship match of the fifth annual Hurricane Invitational Saturday evening at the Knight Sports Complex. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
With the win, Miami improves to 5-0 while Xavier (6-2) takes runner-up honors after going 1-1 this weekend.
This season the Hurricanes, who were 2-5 in five-game situations in 2004, have claimed victories in both instances where the match has come down to a fifth and deciding game.
“I think that when we get into a situation when it comes to a fifth game we’re playing confident and just getting after it,” said head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. “We’re staying aggressive and we’re playing to win. It’s really shown in the two matches where we’ve been in that situation. We’re rising to the occasion and rising to the pressure. It’s all about a mind set to win in game five.”
The Hurricanes were led by the stellar play of junior setter Jill Robinson, senior outside hitter Karla Johnson and redshirt-junior middle blocker Francheska Savage. Robinson was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player while Johnson and Savage were both named to the All-Tournament Team.
Robinson was merely two kills shy of a triple-double when she tallied 56 assists, 15 digs and eight kills in the match. The Merced, Calif. native averaged 12.12 assists per game and registered a .419 hitting percentage during the Hurricane Invitational.
Johnson also recorded a double-double, leading all players with 20 kills while tallying 11 digs and three solo blocks, which matched a career-high.
But it was Savage’s play in the fifth game that helped propel the Hurricanes to their sixth consecutive victory. The Ft.Myers, Fla. native did not commit a single error as she went 4-of-7, posted one solo block and added a service ace. She finished the match with 16 kills and a match- high six total blocks (3BS, 3BA).
“Frannie definitely had a key series in the end but it was her play in the whole match that was great,” said Lantagne Welch. “Her blocking isn’t as noticed but it was outstanding as well as her attack. She helped lead us to that victory.”
Lantagne Welch was once again impressed by the play of the bench, “Ashley Woods came off the bench and really did a great job, was very effective and had some key blocks. Also, Michelle Bruin helped stabilized our passing and just gave us a spark.”
“I feel like everyone is ready to contribute however it’s needed and give us those sparks when we need it.”
Both teams battled toe-to-toe in a first game that saw the score tied up a match-high nine times. But back-to-back kills by Woods and Savage with the score tied a 17-all helped the Hurricanes run away with the lead to win game one 30-23.
Xavier countered by taking a decisive 30-22 game two victory in which Miami never led. The Hurricanes got as close as a point with the score 25-24 but they could not solve the Musketeers who capitalized on six service aces to take the win.
Miami took the match lead in game three with a 30-21 victory but were forced into a fifth and deciding game after Xavier claimed a 30-22 game four victory.
The onset of game five seemed to mirror the rest of the match as both teams battled point for point before three consecutive kills by Savage helped the Hurricanes run away with a 15-10 win and the match victory.
For the musketeers, Carley Horvath registered a double-double (11 kills/10 digs) as did Jenn Welsh (63 assists/11 digs) while five players posted double-digit kill efforts.
The Hurricanes return to action next weekend when they host the Orange and Green Challenge Sept. 16-17 at the Knight Sports Complex. The tournament will feature MichiganState, SacramentoState and 11th ranked Louisville.
Hurricane Invitational All-Tournament Team
Abbey Breit (JacksonvilleState)
Shari Weyer (JacksonvilleState)
Francheska Savage (Miami)
Karla Johnson (Miami)
Most Valuable Player – Jill Robinson (Miami)