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Miami Volleyball Headed to Blue Raider Bash

Sept. 2, 2010

Complete Tournament Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Coral Gables, Fla. – Fresh off a victory over South Florida foe FAU, the University of Miami Hurricanes volleyball team travels this weekend to Murfreesboro, Tenn., set to take on four opponents at the Blue Raider Bash hosted by Middle Tennessee State University. The tournament begins Fri., Sept. 3, running through Sun., Sept. 5.

Miami (3-1) went 2-1 last weekend at the Nike Invitational in Norman, Okla. In the process, the Hurricanes defeated 2009 NCAA Round of 32 participant Wichita State, 3-2. On Tues., Aug. 31, Miami opened its home schedule with a 3-0 defeat of Florida Atlantic at the James L. Knight Sports Complex.

The Hurricanes will be facing four opponents this weekend, including 2009 NCAA participant and host Middle Tennessee State.

Miami looks towards a quartet of players to lead them, including senior middle blocker Ariell Cooke (Oakland, Calif.) and junior outside hitter Christine Williamson (Tampa, Fla.). Cooke leads the `Canes in blocks on the year, staking 14 (assisted) to this point on the year. Williamson had a strong showing in her last match against the FAU Owls, and now has a team second-best 45 kills (2.81 per set) on the campaign.

Junior outside hitter Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) leads the team in kills with 56 (3.29 per set), and owns three double-doubles in UM’s four matches this season. Also playing well is freshman libero Ryan Shaffer (San Jose, Calif.), leading the team defensively with 67 digs (3.94 per set).

Miami opens the tournament against Auburn on Fri., Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. (CST). The Tigers enter the weekend with a record of 4-0, while being led by Sarah Bullock with 39 kills, followed closely by Kelly Fidero with 35 kills. The Tigers have claimed wins over Troy, Tennessee-Martin, Georgia Southern and Mercer, respectively.

“We’re looking forward to another challenging weekend,” said UM head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. “We are playing four quality opponents, and we’re looking forward to rising to the challenge, and continuing to learn about ourselves as we progress.”

On Saturday, the `Canes will play a double-header with Southern Miss (3 p.m.) and Georgia Southern (7 p.m.). All times are Central Standard (CST).

The Golden Eagles opened the season at 3-0, winning their own LaQuinta Inn Invitational. Redshirt junior Ashley Mell was named MVP of the LaQuinta Inn Invitational, while juniors Kelsea Seymour and Lauren Sears earned bids to the All-Tournament Team. Mell ranks fourth among the Conference USA leaders in kills with 4.22 kills per set, and Sears leads all league players with 1.56 blocks per set. Seymour is fourth in assists at 10.89 assists per set. Junior Lisa Knecht is sixth in digs at 4.82 per set. Sears also sits fifth in hitting percentage with a .388 clip.

Meanwhile, Georgia Southern enters the weekend sporting a 2-1 record after collecting wins over Tennessee-Martin and Troy, respectively. The Eagles suffered their only loss on the year to Auburn a week ago in Auburn’s home tournament. Bethany Sanford is the leader for the Eagles offensively, registering 32 kills, while leading the team with 33 digs, defensively.

Miami will close the weekend on Sunday against host Middle Tennessee State at 1 p.m. (CST). The Blue Raiders come into the weekend with a 2-1 record – the lone loss being to sixth-ranked Illinois in their last contest. MTSU and Miami met last year in Coral Gables as part of the Miami/FIU Invitational, with the Hurricanes defeating the Blue Raiders, 3-1.

MTSU is led by Izabela Kozon with 40 kills (3.64 per set), while she also owns 19 digs and four blocks. Assisting her offensively is Alyssa Peyton (22 kills), with Lindsay Cheatham and Maria Szivos each owning 19 kills apiece. Defensively, the Blue Raiders are Brynne Henderson with 34 digs (3.09 per set), while teammate Morgan Peterson owns 24 digs (2.18 per set).

After returning from the Blue Raider Bash, Miami will return home to the friendly confines of the James L. Knight Sorts Complex to host the Hurricane Invitational on Sept. 10-11 in Coral Gables, Fla.