UM Takes Down Middle Tennessee in Volleyball, 3-1

UM Takes Down Middle Tennessee in Volleyball, 3-1

Sept. 5, 2010

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Murfreesboro, Tenn. – The University of Miami volleyball team finished the Blue Raider Bash a perfect 4-0 on Sunday, taking down host Middle Tennessee State, 3-1 (20-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-23), inside Alumni Memorial Gymnasium in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Miami (7-1) won its fifth consecutive match as a result of Sunday’s victory, using three players in double-digits for kills, including a double-double effort from junior outside hitter Lane Carico.

The `Canes never led in the opening set, as MTSU (3-4) used four kills from three different players – including a four-kill, two-block effort from Lindsay Cheatham. Miami cut into the lead, 9-8, after a kill from junior Christine Williamson. However, that’s as close as the `Canes would come in the frame, with MTSU stretching its lead on the strength of a 6-3 run, powered by kills from the Blue Raiders’ Alyssa Wistrick and Maria Szivos. The Blue Raiders closed the set with a kill from Morgan Peterson, despite a 6-2 run by UM that held MTSU at 24-20, before the set-ending point from Peterson.

In the second set, Miami got steady play from senior middle blockers Ariell Cooke and Lici McGee, with each staking four kills in the frame. McGee added three blocks (two assisted), while teammate Gallagher chipped in with two blocks and 11 assists from her setter position. UM took the second set on the strength of a 25-21 advantage.

The third set saw nine ties between the two combatants. UM stretched its lead at 11-8 after a service ace from Carico and consecutive kills from Williamson. But it was the Blue Raiders’ Wistrick and Stacy Oladinni each recording five kills in the frame, putting things at a deadlock late in the match, 23-23.

Following a timeout by UM head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch, the `Canes got kills from Carico and Cooke to earn the hard-fought 25-23 victory, laying claim to a 2-1 advantage in the match. Carico, McGee and Williamson all tallied four kills apiece during the third set, as Carico added two service aces.

The fourth set saw the `Canes hit at a blistering .452 clip (15k-1e-31ta), while the Blue Raiders of MTSU also hit well, earning a .389 hitting percentage (18k-4e-36ta).

UM trailed in the set, 6-3, after MTSU’s Szivos served up consecutive aces. Using unforced Blue Raiders errors, a kill from Gallagher and a block from McGee – and UM was right back in the set, 10-10. That’s when Szivos stopped the `Canes momentum with back-to-back kills, allowing MTSU to step back out in front, 12-10.

MTSU led 18-14 in the set after a kill from Wistrick, before Miami’s Williamson began an 8-1 Hurricanes rally that included a service ace from freshman Mariel Schofield, as well as two blocks and a kill from McGee – added assisted blocks from freshman Alexandria Johnson and Williamson. That run gave UM a 22-19 edge after Williamson laid down a kill (one of three for the Tampa native in the set).

MTSU would cut into the lead with kills from Szivos and Izabela Kozon. But UM proved resilient, as 2010 Preseason All-ACC Team member Lane Carico tallied a kill to end the set and match, 25-23.

Miami and fellow Atlantic Coast Conference member Duke each finished the weekend with perfect records. The Blue Devils went 3-0, while the `Canes ended the weekend 4-0.

Middle Tennessee State was led by four players in double-figures for kills, paced by Wistrick with 15 kills and two assisted blocks. Kozon finished the afternoon with a double-double performance of 13 kills and 11 digs, followed by Lindsay Cheatham and Oladinni each with 10 kills. Szivos put in a match-high six service aces for MTSU.

MTSU libero Brynne Henderson led the Blue Raiders’ defense with a match-high 21 digs, and setter Peterson added 31 assists and five kills.

Miami was led offensively by Carico’s double-double effort (14 kills, 14 digs) and three service aces. Williamson and McGee each claimed 12 kills in the match, with McGee striking at a .346 clip (12k-3e-26ta). Gallagher setup the Hurricanes’ offense with a match-high 47 assists, pitching in three kills, nine digs and three blocks (two assisted). Williamson also added three assisted blocks.

The UM defense was charged by freshman libero Ryan Shaffer with 10 digs, and it was the play of fellow freshman Johnson providing five kills, six digs and two block assists.

Miami returns home next weekend for the Hurricane Invitational, welcoming teams from FIU, Bethune-Cookman and the University of San Francisco. Miami will open its tournament play against San Francisco, meeting the Dons for the first time since 2008, when UM won the Asics/Coca-Cola Invitational in San Francisco.

The tournament begins with FIU meeting Bethune-Cookman out of Daytona Beach, Fla., inside the James L. Knight Sports Complex on the UM campus on Fri., Sept. 10, at 3 p.m. UM’s match against San Francisco will begin at 6 p.m. The tournament runs through Sat., Sept. 11.

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