Volleyball Travels to Virginia, Virginia Tech for ACC Showdown

Volleyball Travels to Virginia, Virginia Tech for ACC Showdown

Oct. 23, 2008

Coral Gables, Fla. –

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The University of Miami volleyball team is set for a showdown with two schools from the “Old Dominion State” as the Hurricanes take on Virginia and Virginia Tech for their first road contest in five matches. The `Canes battle UVA on Friday, Oct. 24 (7 p.m.) before taking the hour drive southwest to Virginia Tech on Oct. 25 (6 p.m.).

Miami comes into this weekend with a chance to claim sole possession of the top spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) mid-season standings. The Hurricanes are currently tied for a share of the lead in the ACC with Virginia Tech and Clemson as all three teams share similar 7-2 conference records. Clemson defeated the `Canes in their only head-to-head match-up back on Oct. 3 in Clemson, South Carolina.

Junior outside hitter Genny Mayhew (Clovis, Calif.) enters the weekend needing just 11 digs to join the “500 Club” with 500 kills and 500 digs throughout her career. Mayhew owns 766 kills and 489 digs in three years at UM.

Sophomore setter Katie Gallagher needs 44 assists to take over second place all-time in the UM history books for assists in a career. She currently has 1,981 assists in her two-year career in Coral Gables.

The showdown with the Hokies has the potential to be widely viewed around the league as the two teams were picked to finish eighth (Virginia Tech) and ninth (Miami), respectively, in the preseason polls. The Hurricanes are currently riding a six-match winning streak dating back to their loss at Clemson on October 3.

The Hurricanes of the University of Miami come into this weekend’s road series with a six-match winning streak, five in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Hurricanes are tied atop the league standings after the Duke Blue Devils defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies. There is a log jam atop the standings with Miami, Virginia Tech and Clemson all sharing a similar 7-2 league mark. This weekend’s state of Virginia trip will be huge for the Orange and Green.

The Hurricanes lost two of their last three road matches in league play, but are seeking redemption this time around.

After being picked to finish ninth in the ACC Preseason poll, the `Canes are one of two surprises in the league so far–the other, one of their opponents this weekend, Virginia Tech. The Hokies were picked to finish eighth.

Miami comes into this weekend with no injuries to report, and the `Canes are really surging after sweeping their five-match home stand to run their home court record to 9-0 on the year. Production has been coming in a variety of areas for the `Canes, with Lane Carico and Genny Mayhew supplying a brutal “1-2 punch” for UM. At the net, it has been the blocking ability of Angelica Ellis (62 blocks) and Lici McGee (45 blocks) that has been dominant. But added redshirt senior Ashley Woods (43 blocks), and the Hurricanes have been playing good volleyball in a variety of ways.

UM comes into this weekend seeking their first 20-win season since 2003, their last year in the Big East Conference. The Hurricanes went 22-9 that year, and enjoyed back-to-back 20-win campaigns in that stretch, with a 27-6 mark coming in 2002–their only appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

With no ACC Volleyball Tournament, and the regular season champion earning the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, this weekend’s matchups for the `Canes will be huge. The battle between the eighth and ninth place preseason teams, respectively, could push someone to the top of the pile, at least for a week.

The Virginia Cavaliers are just 4-5 in the league (12-9 overall), but did capture their first ACC home win last week in an upset of against Wake Forest. The Cavaliers are 4-3 overall at home, and are led by a number of players on the court. Among them is Lauren Dickson with 234 kills and a team-best 26 service aces. She also has a team second-best 254 digs and 36 blocks. Behind her is Shannon Davis with 164 kills and a team second-best 73 blocks (70 assisted). The setter for the Cavaliers is Marlow Bruneau with 499 assists, while teammate Kelli Irvin (257 assists) will see plenty of action as well. The libero is Brittani Rendina with 324 digs to her credit.

Despite being picked to finish eighth in the ACC Preseason poll, the Hokies of Virginia Tech are tied atop the league standings just before the midway point of the ACC campaign. The Hokies are 16-4 overall, 7-2 ACC. They just lost their first home ACC match of the year last weekend to Duke, but are still on a tremendous ride. The Hokies are paced by Felicia Willoughby with 201 kills, and Justine Record is right behind her with 174 kills. Overall, the Hokies have five players with 100-plus kills. Also helping out with the blocks are Willoughby with a team-leading 79 (65 assists), while Betsy Horowitz sits with 57 (50 assists). The defense is led by Jill Gergen’s 267 digs, and setter Erin Leaser has 678 assists.

The series with Miami and UVA has belonged to the Cavaliers, holding a slight 5-3 advantage since UM joined the ACC. The `Canes and Cavaliers split last year, with the road team winning both contests. However, UVA has won four of the last five meetings in the series.

The `Canes lead this series with the Hokies of Virginia Tech, 8-3, dating back to their days in the Big East Conference. Since joining the ACC, Miami has won five-of-seven matches against the Hokies, including a streak of three-straight matches.

Freshman outside hitter Lane Carico picked up her second ACC Player of the Week honor this week as she became the first player in the league this year to grab the honors twice. On the week, Carico registered 30 kills on 75 swings for a hitting percentage of .347 (30-4-75). She also picked up four assists and 28 digs with an assisted block.

On Friday night, Carico recorded 12 kills in UM’s 3-0 sweep over N.C. State. She hit .273 in the tilt with seven digs as well. On Saturday, she posted her 10th double-double of the season with an 18-kill, 21-dig performance in the `Canes 3-1 win over the Tar Heels. Her 18 kills rank second amongst four set matches and mark the sixth time this season she has hit for more than 15 kills.

Carico averaged .405 in the match, making only one error in 42 attempts. The 21 digs in the North Carolina match are a season high for her in that category.

On the upcoming dates (Oct. 24 an 25) for the Miami Hurricanes, UM is a whopping 10-3-1all-time, including a win over Virginia Tech back on Oct. 24, 2004 in Coral Gables. The most matches played throughout the course of these two dates occurred back in 1980 when UM took part in the Jacksonville Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. The `Canes played nine matches during that two-day stretch, posting a record of 7-1-1.