Miami Sweeps Away Duke in ACC Volleyball, 3-0
Oct. 31, 2008
Coral Gables, Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team completed a season series sweep of Duke University on Friday night, 3-0, in ACC volleyball action (27-25, 25-19, 25-23) held at the James L. Knight Sports Complex in Coral Gables, Fla. With the win, the `Canes continue their home court winning streak at 13 matches dating back to 2007.
A week after suffering the first road trip sweep of the year, Miami (20-4, 8-4 ACC) bounced back and looked as scary as the kids dressed for Halloween on Friday night inside the Knight Sports Complex. While Sebastian the Ibis was giving away treats to the costumed children in attendance, head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch and the Hurricanes had a few tricks up their sleeve, instead. The Hurricanes completed their first-ever season series sweep of Duke, and defeated the Blue Devils for the first time ever in Coral Gables.
“We worked really hard this week, and we knew what we had to work on in order to bounce back after those losses last weekend,” expressed UM head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch.
Miami started off the match with a kill from Ashley Woods, and ended it … the exact same way. That seemed to set the tone for the entire night.
With the score tied at 15 midway through the first set, Miami edged out to an 18-16 advantage when a service error was charged to Duke (17-7, 8-4 ACC) followed by a service ace from UM’s Angelica Ellis. The Blue Devils would use a timeout and appropriately bounce back to within one point until back-to-back kills from Woods–a redshirt senior from Round Rock, Texas, put UM back up at 21-18.
With the score set at 25-25, another Duke service error ensued, one of 10 on the night by the Blue Devils. That set up Ariell Cooke for a kill to end the set in favor of the Orange and Green, 27-25.
“Taking that first set was big,” stated Lantagne Welch. “It’s always great to play at home, and that first win always helps when you’re facing a tough team like Duke.”
In the second set, UM had their most productive output of the night, statistically speaking, when they hit a solid .417 (17-2-36).
The Hurricanes jumped out to a 6-1 advantage before a Duke timeout. The Blue devils countered with kills from their big duo of Sue Carls and Jourdan Norman to bring themselves back to within 11-10.
UM went on a 5-0 run sparked by a kill from Cooke and another by Genny Mayhew before Lane Carico smashed home back-to-back kills to put the `Canes back out comfortably, 16-10. They would have to fight-off yet another furious Duke rally down the stretch before blocks from Woods and Cooke, added an error charged to the Blue Devils, would give Miami the 25-19 victory.
In the third set, it was the defense of Cassie Loessberg that propelled the Hurricanes as Duke used winding hits from Rachael Moss and Norman to try and get kills, but it was Loessberg on the spot almost every time for the dig.
“They had some hard shots, and we knew they could hit from earlier in the year,” stated Loessberg. “We just wanted to get back home and play well after what we felt was a bad weekend last week. This was just a great night, and it feels good to beat a team like Duke.”
With UM up 15-11 midway through, an attack error to Duke and a kill from Mayhew allowed the Hurricanes to build a 19-15 lead. The Blue Devils would cut into the lead at 21-20 following a service ace from Moss and a kill by Tampa, Florida native Kellie Catanach–a former teammate at Plant High School with UM redshirt freshman Christine Williamson.
With the score tied at 22-22, Duke took their second lead of the set at 23-22 when Sophia Dunworth smashed a kill off the block of Woods and Ellis.
A kill from UM’s Carico knotted the score again 23 before a set error was charged to Duke, and a Woods kill closed out the match, 25-23.
“This was a big win for us, and anytime you beat a program like Duke it’s special. I have so much respect for that program and what they’ve been able to accomplish,” said Lantagne Welch afterwards.
But, when asked about the possibility of an NCAA Tournament appearance now that UM has cleared the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2003, her response was simple.
“We can’t worry about things like that. We just have to keep winning. I think if we concentrate on we’re trying to do, and win some matches down the stretch, then we can think about it more. But we have to take care of our business now before we worry about the NCAA Tournament possibility,”
Duke’s high-powered offense led by Rachael Moss was held to a .234 clip (42-12-128), while Moss netted just seven kills on the night. Leading the way for the Blue Devils was Sue Carls with 10 kills and two digs. Behind her were four other players with seven kills each, including Moss and Norman. Claire Smalzer led the defense with a match-high 21 digs.
As for Miami, they were led by Mayhew’s 14-kill, 11-dig outburst, allowing her to collect her 10th double-double of the campaign. Also touching double-digits in kills was Woods with 10, marking the fifth time this year she’s posted double-digit kills in a match. She also had a match-high tying four blocks (three assisted).
Ariell Cooke tied her with four blocks, while also adding seven kills. Setter Katie Gallagher recorded her ninth double-double of the year with 35 assists and 14 digs.
Libero Cassie Loessberg pitched in with a team-high 17 digs on defense.
Miami returns to the court on Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. matinee contest against Wake Forest back at the James L. Knight Sports Complex. The Demon Deacons swept the Hurricanes, 3-0, earlier this year in Winston-Salem, halting UM’s 15-match winning streak at the time.