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Hurricanes Fall in Volleyball Action to USF, 3-1

Aug. 29, 2009

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Coral Gables, Fla. – Marcela Gurgel staked 19 kills on her way to being named tournament MVP in helping lead the USF Bulls past the University of Miami, 3-1 (25-18, 26-24, 18-25, 25-22), in a volleyball matchup Saturday evening in the championship match of the Hurricane Invitational at the James L. Knight Sports Complex in Coral Gables, Fla.

With both teams undefeated at 2-0 heading into the championship match Saturday night, the much-anticipated matchup between the “Sunshine State” foes was truly worth the wait.

Miami (2-1) led 16-12 in the opening set after a kill from Carico. Following a USF timeout, the visiting Bulls battled back to knot the match at 17 with a pair of blocks from Pamela Luiz and Alli Arbogast.

USF took the lead at 18-17 after an attack error charged to the `Canes.

With the set tied at 18, USF (3-0) started a 7-0 run that closed-out the set on a kill from Luiz. The Bulls claimed three blocks in the run, aided by Gurgel’s solo block to end the set, 25-18.

In the second set, Miami, in fact, out-hit its counterparts on the strength of a .414 clip (15-3-29).

The set went back-and-forth almost the entire way as the set saw 11 ties and three lead changes. The hitting battle between reigning AVCA East Region Freshman of the Year and Preseason All-ACC member Lane Carico from UM, and the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year from USF (Gurgel) was the highlight of the set.

USF opened a 6-4 lead behind a block from Gurgel, one of her team-high tying five blocks on the night. The `Canes took a 7-6 advantage to end a 3-0 run with blocks from Carico and Ali Becker.

A kill moments later from Arbogast pushed the Bulls back out in front, 11-9. Miami used kills from Genny Mayhew and Carico in a key stretch to close the set to within one on two occasions, but each time USF had an answer as they took advantage of several unforced errors charged to the `Canes.

UM tied the set at 18-, 19- and 20, respectively, as Christine Williamson and Carico collected key kills for UM late in the set. The Bulls used kills from Luiz and Arbogast, followed by a block from Arbogast, to push their lead back out to a comfortable edge, 23-20.

Refusing to go away quietly, the Hurricanes got another kill from Carico – one of her team-high six in the second set, as well as a service ace from senior libero Cassie Loessberg, to knot the score once again, this time at 24.

But USF rode a kill from Gurgel – one of her set-high seven, and another from Caitlyn Breen to close the set and step out to a 2-0 lead in the match on the heels of a 26-24 decision.

In the third set, it was Carico once again providing the spark for UM as she claimed six kills. Not to be outdone were Mayhew and McGee, each staking three kills apiece.

With the set tied 14-14 after a kill from Carico off the set of freshman Nrithya Sundararaman, Miami raced out to a 21-14 advantage before USF called a timeout. In the run, sophomore Ali Becker registered three block assists, while teammates Mayhew and Williamson combined on the plays.

Becker, a member of last year’s Hurricane Invitational All-Tournament Team, led all players in the match with a career-high eight blocks. Mayhew was just behind her with six of her own -a career-high for the Clovis, Calif. native.

UM would finish the set on a kill from McGee, bringing the Hurricanes back into the match though still trailing, 2-1.

In the fourth set, Miami seemed to feed off the momentum from the previous one, running out to a quick 4-1 advantage behind a kill from Becker and a service ace from Sundararaman. An 8-2 Bulls run ensued, however, as UM was charged with four attack errors, including USF assisted blocks from Gurgel and Breen.

After falling behind 20-13, the `Canes closed the gap to within 21-16 on the strength of blocks from Becker, Mayhew and Williamson, as well as a kill from Carico.

But it would be as close as the Hurricanes could get on this night, as a kill from Gurgel closed the match out for the USF Bulls – the 2009 Hurricane Invitational champions, in claiming the final set, 25-22.

As previously stated, Gurgel was named Tournament MVP from USF, while Miami placed McGee and Carico on the All-Tournament Team.

USF was aided by Gurgel’s 19 kills, as she led a trio of Bulls in double-figures for kills. Behind her were Luiz and Jarka Havlickova with 10 kills each. Libero Janice Rivera reeled in a match-high 23 digs, and setters Mariana Thon and Brittany Castelamare combined for 47 of the team’s 52 assists.

Gurgel also added three service aces, five digs and five blocks (three assists).

Miami was led by Carico’s 22 kills, earning her the fourth 20-kills match of her career. No other Hurricanes player touched double-digits for kills, but Mayhew and McGee each recorded nine in a valiant effort for the `Canes. Sundararaman stepped in for Katie Gallagher on the weekend, and provided nicely with 39 assists for the match, while also collecting 10 digs for her first collegiate double-double.

Becker placed eight blocks (assisted), while Mayhew added three digs and six blocks (five assists). Libero Cassie Loessberg collected a team-high 16 digs on defense, while setting up six assists and serving out an ace.

Miami will look to rebound from Saturday’s setback when they travel to Greeley, Colorado next weekend for the Hampton Inn & Suites Tournament hosted by the University of Northern Colorado. UM first takes on Eastern Michigan (Sept. 4), followed the next day by a pair of matches against North Dakota State and host Northern Colorado.

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.

Hurricane Invitational All-Tournament Team
Marcela Gurgel (Most Valuable Player) – USF
Jana Havlickova – USF
Alli Arbogast – USF
Lane Carico – Miami
Lici McGee – Miami
Sapphire Reid – Prairie View A&M
Emma Racila – Florida Gulf Coast