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UM Volleyball Sweeps FGCU in Season-Opener, 3-0

Aug. 28, 2009

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Coral Gables, Fla. – Three Hurricanes collected double-digit kill performances to help spark the University of Miami volleyball team to a season-opening victory over Florida Gulf Coast, 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-17) on Friday evening in first day action of the Hurricane Invitational at the James L. Knight Sports Complex in Coral Gables, Fla.

Friday’s match was the season-opener for both teams, and the first-ever meeting between the in-state opponents.

Miami (1-0) used an aggressive offense in its season-opener, while freshman setter Nrithya Sundararaman (Naperville, Ill.) seemed to settle into her collegiate debut with ease. She set the offense with a match-high 34 assists as the Hurricanes pounded out 44 kills in the match.

With the opening set tied at 16, UM opened a two-point edge at 18-16 following back-to-back attack errors charged to FGCU (0-1). The Eagles quickly regrouped and tied the set at 18-all behind a kill from Anna Wagner and a service ace from Alexa Napolean.

UM charged to a 24-19 advantage as junior middle blocker Lici McGee (Warr Acres, Okla.) connected on three kills for the Hurricanes in a 6-1 run. The `Canes closed out the opening set with a kill from Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) in order to open the match with the 1-0 effort on a 25-20 score.

After seeing increased time at middle blocker last year, McGee collected five of her 10 kills on the night in the first set for the `Canes.

In the second set, Miami hit a .258 clip (13-5-31) as a team while holding their counterparts to a .088 hitting touch (10-7-34).

After Wagner’s kill from the left side allowed the Eagles to step out in front, 11-10, Miami raced to a 7-2 run in order to move back in front, 17-13. Genny Mayhew (Clovis, Calif.) posted two kills and McGee another during the stretch.

Mayhew would collect two more kills, combining with sophomore Ali Becker (Katy, Texas) and Christine Williamson (Tampa, Fla.) each putting down a kill apiece, to take the second set, 25-17.

The final set was all Hurricanes as UM hammered down a .324 hitting percentage (17-5-37) driven by Carico’s six kills, as well as five more coming from Mayhew – also a Preseason All-ACC selection.

Mayhew’s kill in front of FGCU’s Jacqueline Cowden pushed the Hurricanes lead to 7-2 as senior libero Cassie Loessberg (Sacramento, Calif.) helped UM push four points off serve.

Following a block from the Eagles’ Ashley Yance, FGCU closed the gap to within 8-6.

However, that’s as close as FGCU would get as strong attacks from Cowden and Jelena Simic were swallowed by the defensive efforts of Loessberg – a Preseason All-ACC Team member. Loessberg registered 22 digs in the match, increasing her school-record for 20-dig matches in a career out to 25.

Led by Mayhew and Becker, UM got a spark from Williamson’s solo block at the net that allowed the `Canes to step out to an 11-6 advantage. Another kill from Mayhew was followed by a service ace from Carico to keep the UM momentum going and increase the lead, 14-6.

Carico continued her strong hitting in the final set as she posted three of her six kills in the set down the stretch.

Miami eventually took the set in order to close-out the match, 25-17. FGCU was limited to a .028 hitting percentage in the final set.

FGCU was led by three players with six kills each, including Wagner. The other two performers were Simic and Emma Racila. Setter Chandra Lefever had 22 assists, while Holly Youngquist provided the defensive efforts with 13 digs.

UM was led by Mayhew’s 13 kills, while falling just short of a double-double with nine digs and a block assist. However, Carico collected a double-double, the 17th of her career, with 11 kills and 13 digs. She also provided three service aces.

McGee turned in an all-around effort for the Hurricanes, posting 10 kills in staking a .368 hitting percentage (ninth of her career) to go along with five blocks (four assisted) and a dig.

Miami will play the second match of day two action at the Hurricane Invitational on Saturday when the `Canes take on Prairie View A&M at 12:30 p.m. UM concludes the tournament with a much-anticipated matchup with in-state foe USF at 7:30 p.m.

USF defeated Prairie View A&M, 3-0, in the opening match of the Hurricane Invitational. Saturday’s action opens with USF facing Florida Gulf Coast at 10 a.m.

The official Hurricane Invitational website can be accessed by clicking here. The website includes updated information on all participating teams, as well as box scores and recaps of each match. Live stats are provided for each match through Game Tracker.

For more information on the University of Miami Volleyball team, please log on to Once there, you will find up-to-date news, stats and information regarding the Hurricanes Volleyball program.