Hurricanes Travel West to Asics/Coca-Cola Invitational

Hurricanes Travel West to Asics/Coca-Cola Invitational

Sept. 11, 2008

Coral Gables, Fla. –

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The University of Miami enters this weekend’s Asics/Coca-Cola Invitational with a perfect 7-0 overall record. They enter with wins over three (3) teams that ventured into the 2007 NCAA Tournament, including Alabama, Sacramento State and Texas State. The Hurricanes have now matched the second-best start in school history, and are riding a nine-match winning streak dating to the final two matches of the 2007 campaign. The 2002 squad that advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament started their season 15-0 — the best mark in school history. In fact, the Hurricanes won 26 consecutive matches from the end of 2001 to the middle of the 2002 campaign to mark the longest winning streak in UM history.

Miami is led by the play of four players, and it’s hard to spotlight just one. Leading things off is junior outside hitter and Preseason All-ACC selection Genny Mayhew. The Clovis, Calif. native has a team-best 73 kills (3.17 kps) and has 59 digs with nine blocks (eight assists). Beside her is setter Katie Gallagher who “”quarterbacks” the offense with a team-best 200 assists. Junior libero/defensive specialist Cassie Loessberg leads the defensive charge with an ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) high mark of 112 digs (4.87 dps). Also playing well is freshman Lane Carico who is second on the team in two categories … kills (59) and digs (79).

This will be the first-ever meeting between the Hurricanes and San Francisco Dons. This is the third meeting between the `Canes and Hornets, with the second coming earlier this season, while the series is tied 1-1. Finally, this is the third meeting between the `Canes and Villanova Wildcats. Miami leads that series, 2-1. The last time these teams met was on Sept. 2, 2006 with the Wildcats winning, 3-2. The last UM victory over Villanova came back on Oct. 12, 2003 with a 3-0 decision in Coral gables when both teams were a part of the Big East Conference.

Sacramento State is beginning a nine-match stretch away from the friendly confines of Sacramento State’s home gym. The Hornets sit at 2-5 on the year, and are making their second appearance against the Hurricanes this season. Miami downed the Hornets earlier this year, 3-0 in the opening match of the Century Tel Premier Tournament in San Marcos, Texas.

First-year head coach Ruben Volta leans on the play of Desiree Hoyum (60 kills / 2.54 kps) and Maddison Thivierge (60 kills / 2.31 kps) to lead the offense. However, the Hornets are hitting just .179 as a team this year, and have hit better than .250 in just eight (8) of the team’s 26 sets this season.

The Dons of the University of San Francisco are 4-2 entering the weekend, and they have defeated some very formidable foes in the form of Missouri State, UC Santa Barbara and Utah State. The Dons are powered by Sarah Mandala with a team-high 80 kills (3.64 kps) and 12 blocks (assisted). Also playing well for the Dons is libero/defensive specialist Haley Carroll with 96 digs (4.36 dps), and uses setters Darcy Carroll and Alaina Sully to set-up the offense. They also have a 4-0 record at home this year, making them tough to defeat inside War Memorial Gym.

The Villanova Wildcats enter this weekend’s tournament after collecting a sweep of Maryland-Baltimore County on Tuesday evening in Baltimore, Md. Villanova holds an overall record of 4-3 coming into the weekend. The Wildcats look towards Morgan Petkovich for offense as she leads the squad with 74 kills (3.36 kps) and owns a hitting percentage of .266 on the year. Dana Tartasky sits just behind her with 72 kills (3.27 kps) and 47 digs (2.14 dps). Amy Gulyas charges the defense (73 digs) while Chelsea Graman sets the offense with 199 assists.

For the second time in as many years, the University of Miami Hurricanes won the Hurricane Invitational last weekend over opponents from South Dakota State, Virginia Commonwealth University and Alabama. The `Canes have lost just two (2) sets this season in 21 overall sets. The Hurricanes’ setter Katie Gallagher swept MVP honors while the freshmen duo of Ali Becker (Katy, Texas) and Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) were also named to the All-Tournament Team. This was the second consecutive tournament the `Canes had won this season after winning the Century Tel Premier Tournament two weeks ago in San Marcos, Texas.

Freshmen duo Lane Carico and Ali Becker are storming into the starting lineup for the Hurricanes after tremendous play in their first two tournaments of the season. Carico is second on the team with 59 kills, and Becker sits in a tie atop the team list for blocks (15) with senior Ashley Woods. Carico is also second on the squad in digs (79).

In the latest statistical rankings/charts, the University of Miami is first in attack percentage (.287), opponent hitting percentage (.112), service aces (50), second in kills (301) and tops in digs (379). Individually, Cassie Loessberg is first in the ACC in digs (112) and teammate Maria Andersson is second in service aces (18 / 0.61 saps). Loessberg is ranked 34th nationally in digs per set, while the team as a whole is 15th nationally in the same category.

Junior outside hitter Genny Mayhew was named to the Preseason All-ACC Team as voted on by head coaches around the Atlantic Coast Conference. Mayhew, a 5-foot-11 junior from Clovis, Calif. (Clovis HS), finished ninth in the conference in both kills (428) and points (465) a year ago. She also finished fourth on the squad in digs (224) and tied for fifth in blocks (43) alongside teammate Ariell Cooke while playing in 111 games for the `Canes.

Libero/Defensive Specialist Cassie Loessberg is eyeing 1,000 digs at this point in the year. The junior from Sacramento, Calif. (St. Francis HS) comes into this weekend with 982 digs, and sits all alone in third place on the all-time `Canes category list for digs. Jamie Grass (2001-04) is the all-time leader with 1,621. She is just 19 digs behind Jill Robinson for second place all-time.