Volleyball Begins Spring Practices Friday Afternoon

Volleyball Begins Spring Practices Friday Afternoon

Feb. 27, 2009

Coral Gables, Fla. – Head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch and the University of Miami volleyball team gets back to action on Friday with spring practices/training sessions beginning at the James L. Knight Sports Complex, as well as the announcement of the spring schedule.

“It’s great to get everyone back together in the gym for full practices,” expresses Lantagne Welch, the reigning 2008 ACC and AVCA East region Coach of the Year. “This is when a lot of players tend to make huge strides in their game, and we’re looking forward to seeing that happen again in the spring.” Lantagne Welch, the face of the UM volleyball program since its reinsertion into the athletic fold at UM back in 2001, just completed her eighth season at the helm in Coral Gables, picking up her second Conference Coach of the Year award in that span – BIG EAST in 2002.

The UM spring competition schedule looks to be a challenging one with four competitive dates on tap, including one at home. Miami opens their spring sate in the friendly confines of the James L. Knight Sports Complex on Mar. 13 against cross-town rival FIU at 3 p.m. FIU made the field of 64 last year in the NCAA Tournament. After that, the Hurricanes travel to Orlando to compete in a tournament hosted by UCF on Mar. 28. Participating teams for that field will be announced closer to the tournament itself.

On Apr. 11, the `Canes travel to Gainesville to compete in a tri-match hosted by the University of Florida. Florida was also a “Field of 64” team last season while hosting the Gainesville (Fla.) Regional.

The following weekend, UM takes part in the 15-team field at the Collegiate Beach Volleyball Challenge on Siesta Key, Fla. Others participating in this year’s event include in-state teams from UCF, USF, UNF, Florida State, Jacksonville, Stetson, FIU and FAU, as well as a host of others outside the Sunshine State. For information regarding the Collegiate Beach Volleyball Challenge, please visit their official website at www.fiestaonsiestakey.com.

The Hurricanes return a host of student-athletes from the 2008 campaign that saw the Orange and Green finish with a record of 26-6 overall, the best since joining the ACC in 2004. They also collected an ACC record of 14-6 to finish tied for second in the league–also a best for UM since joining the league. Miami finished their home slate with a record of 12-1, while also going 5-0 on neutral ground winning two tournaments in San Marcos, Texas and San Francisco, Calif., respectively.

One of the key returnees for the Hurricanes is AVCA East Region and ACC Freshman of the Year Lane Carico. Carico picked up a variety of post-season awards in 2008, in addition to most recently being awarded with All-ACC Academic Team honors.

Also back is All-ACC Second Team member Genny Mayhew, a senior from Clovis, Calif., who finished second on the team in kills (356) and fourth in digs (280). Mayhew also ended the year with a team third-best 13 double-doubles.

Senior libero/defensive specialist Cassie Loessberg, already second on the all-time school list for career digs (1,424), returns for the defensive side of things. She needs just 197 digs to bypass Jamie Grass (2001-04) on the all-time school list. Sophomore Katie Gallagher also returns and sits second on the all-time school list for assists in her own right. Gallagher holds 2,445 career assists in her two-year career.

Newcomers Jenna Berkley and Nrithya Sundararaman join the team in the fall, and are expected to be big contributors to next year’s success.

Jenna Berkley is a 6-foot-2 middle hitter from Wildwood, Mo., totaling 333 kills to average 3.48 kills per set, while amassing 105 blocks (80 solo) for an average of 1.09 blocks per set. Those numbers helped her to be named Suburban South Conference First Team, as well as a First Team All-District–Class 4-A (AAAA), District 4, and All-State First Team selection. She went on to collect All-Region honors while being tabbed the team’s most improved player.

Nrithya Sundararaman, standing 5-foot-10 playing along the right side/setter position from Naperville, Ill., prepped at Naperville North (Ill.) High School. During her senior year, Sundararaman assisted the Huskies to a 34-3 overall record while posting a 13-1 record in league play–finishing as regular season co-champs of the DuPage Valley Conference. She earned DuPage Valley Conference First Team honors, in addition to First Team Naperville Sun and First Team Daily Herald recognition. She received honorable mention honors by the Chicago Tribune.

UM Spring Schedule
Mar. 13 – vs. FIU (3 p.m.) in Coral Gables, Fla.
Mar. 28 – at UCF Tournament (All Day) in Orlando, Fla.
Apr. 11 – at Florida Tri-Match (All Day) in Gainesville, Fla.
Apr. 18 – at Collegiate Beach Volleyball Challenge (All Day) in Siesta Key, Fla.

For more information on the University of Miami volleyball team, please locate your internet browser to www.hurricanesports.com – the official athletic website for all varsity sports for the University of Miami Hurricanes.