Volleyball Begins Season with 3-2 Win over UTA

Volleyball Begins Season with 3-2 Win over UTA

Aug. 27, 2010

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Norman, Okla. – The University of Miami volleyball team opened the 2010 campaign with a come-from-behind, 3-2 win (21-25, 22-25, 25-13, 25-20, 15-9) over the University of Texas at Arlington on Fri., Aug. 27, on the opening day of the Nike Invitational hosted by the University of Oklahoma at McCasland Field House in Norman, Okla.

Miami (1-0) began the match dropping the first two sets. The Mavericks of UT-Arlington (0-1) used Tara Frantz and Eld-hah Kaswatuka to do most of the damage, putting the Hurricanes in jeopardy of beginning the season with a defeat.

Trailing, 4-3, in the third set following a kill from the Mavs Bianca Sauls, the Hurricanes went on a torrid 16-6 run sparked by four kills from junior outside hitter Christine Williamson, as well as two service aces from sophomore setter Nrithya Sundararaman. That allowed the `Canes lead to swell to 18-10, en route to the 25-13 decision.

Williamson finished the night with a match-high and career-high tying 19 kills on 36 swings.

In the fourth set, Williamson and senior middle blocker Ariell Cooke combined for 10 kills to bring the `Canes from behind, saving a chance for victory.

After back-to-back attack errors by UM, and a kill from UTA’s Sauls, Miami trailed, 11-7. UM would later trail, 16-12, before embarking upon a 5-0 run behind two Williamson kills and a service ace from sophomore Lizzie Hale.

UM would take three brief one-point leads before UT-Arlington knotted things up, respectively, after each point, until the match stood even at 20-all. That’s when Cooke collected two of her career-high 14 kills on the evening, giving the `Canes the 21-19 edge. Following a Mavericks setting error and a kill from UM’s Sundararaman, Miami stepped out in front at 23-19. Appropriately enough, it was Cooke placing the final kill in the set for UM, knotting the match at two sets apiece.

Lane Carico also supplied four kills and three digs in the fourth set for Miami.

In the fifth and decisive set, UM ran out to a quick 4-0 advantage, using two kills from Cooke and a service ace from junior outside hitter Carico, as well as a Mavs attack error. The Hurricanes never trailed in the fifth frame, closing the match on a 4-1 run, en route to the 15-9 win.

In the set, it was Cooke once again leading the charge for the Hurricanes, putting down three kills and collecting two digs. Behind her were Carico and Williamson, each picking up two kills.

The Mavericks of UT-Arlington were led on the night by three players in double-figures for kills, including double-double efforts from Sauls (13 kills, 10 digs) and Kaswatuka (14 kills, 11 digs). Frantz paced all Mavericks with 16 kills and two assisted blocks. Setter Raegan Daniel setup 36 assists, and libero Alicia Shaffer helped with a team-high 15 digs.

As for the Hurricanes, four players collected double-digit kills performances, while Carico earned a double-double effort – the 37th of her career, finishing the night with 18 kills and 20 digs. It was Williamson leading all `Canes in kills with 19, also supplying six digs. Cooke added her career-best 14 kills and two digs, while Oklahoma native and senior middle blocker Lici McGee opened the season with 10 kills and three blocks (two assisted).

Sundararaman setup a career-high 63 assists, and served up three aces. Freshman outside hitter Alex Johnson was impressive in her debut, earning the start in the rotation for the Nicole Lantagne Welch led `Canes, and posting six kills and a team-high four blocks (assisted). Junior middle blocker Ali Becker added seven kills and two blocks for UM.

For UM head coach Lantagne Welch, the win was the 170th of her career in what is now her 10th year at the helm in Coral Gables, Fla.

Miami will now prepare for two matches on Saturday, opening the day with Wichita State, who advanced to last season’s second round of the NCAA Tournament. The `Canes will face the Wichita State Shockers at 10 a.m. (CST), before concluding the Nike Invitational against host Oklahoma in the nightcap at 7 p.m. (CST).

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

You can also keep up-to-date with all UM Athletics via twitter at Twitter.com/HurricaneSports.