UM Volleyball Ready to Host Hurricane Invitational

Sept. 8, 2010

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Coral Gables, Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team is set to host the 10th Annual Hurricane Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 10-11, at the James L. Knight Sports Complex on the UM campus in Coral Gables, Fla.

In this year’s field, the `Canes welcome competitors from Bethune-Cookman University, FIU and the University of San Francisco.

The tournament begins with Bethune-Cookman taking on FIU on Fri., Sept. 10, at 3 p.m. Miami will open the tournament against San Francisco later in the evening at 6. This will mark the first meeting for the `Canes against the USF Dons since the championship match of the Asics/Coca-Cola Invitational, hosted by San Francisco, on Sept. 13, 2008. UM went on to win that match and claim the tournament title via a 3-2 decision.

UM begins Saturday’s action at 10 a.m., taking on Bethune-Cookman. That match will be followed immediately by San Francisco taking on FIU (12:30 p.m.). The evening slate kicks off with Bethune-Cookman taking on San Francisco at 5 p.m., while the tournament concludes with FIU against Miami at 7:30 p.m.

The `Canes and Panthers last met in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament [Gainesville Regional] on Dec. 3. FIU took that match, 3-2, in a come-from-behind effort, despite a double-double from All-ACC and All-AVCA East Region selection Lane Carico.

Miami went 2-1 in last year’s Hurricane Invitational, falling to the University of South Florida in the championship match. In 2008, UM went 3-0 to finish as tournament champions. Miami enters the weekend working with a 7-1 record, winners of its last five matches. The `Canes swept through last weekend’s Blue Raider Bash at Middle Tennessee State, and defeated Florida Atlantic on Aug. 31, finishing 5-0 on the week.

The `Canes are led offensively by junior outside hitter Lane Carico with 107 kills (3.34 per set), ranking her seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Setter Katie Gallagher sets up the offense, having collected a league second-best 290 assists (10.74 per set). Meanwhile, senior middle blocker Ariell Cooke leads the front line with 26 blocks (24 assisted), while sitting third on the squad in kills (64).

Defensively, Miami looks towards freshman libero Ryan Shaffer, as she sits eighth in the conference for digs with 119 (3.72 per set). Carico is behind her with 108 digs (3.38 per set), managing six double-doubles in eight matches this year. Dating back to last season, Carico has registered 14 double-double efforts (kills/digs) in her last 16 matches.

Quick Hits on San Francisco…
The USF Dons come into the Hurricane Invitational with a 0-6 overall record, suffering tough losses to Kansas, Washington State and UC Santa Barbara. The Dons are led on offense by Joan Caloiaro with 59 kills and 117 assists from her setter position. Malina Terrell owns 44 kills (2.10 per set) for the Dons, while Jordan Irish leads the team in blocks with 15 total (13 assisted). Defensively, USF is charged by Whitney Swain with a team-leading 94 digs (4.48 per set), as well as Caloiaro (60 digs).

Quick Hits on Bethune-Cookman…
The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats enter the weekend with a 1-8 record overall. The `Cats have fallen to mostly in-state opponents, including setbacks to FGCU, FAU and UCF. The `Cats are led on offense by the play of Krysta Gardner with 68 kills (2.34 per set), followed by Linda Nwabuko with 51 kills (1.76 per set). The defense is paced by libero freshman Jennifer Jimenez (90 digs) and sophomore Jacqueline Woodyear (75 digs). The setter for B-CU is Alexis Bliese, leading the charge with 188 assists (6.71 per set).

Quick Hits on FIU…
FIU is now 2-4 on the season following a 1-2 showing at the Iowa State Challenge, where the Panthers defeated South Dakota State and fell to North Dakota State and No. 12 Iowa State. Senior Natalia Valentin continues to add to her FIU all-time assist leading total as she posted 124 assists across 12 sets of action to put her season total at 233 and her career total at 3,376. The setter posted her second double-double of the season with a season-high 59 assists and 13 digs versus South Dakota State and reached career-highs in kills (seven) and digs (20) against North Dakota State.

UM Sweeps ACC Weekly Honors…
Katie Gallagher was selected as this week’s ACC Player of the Week, and rookie Alexandria Johnson was named this week’s ACC Freshman of the Week.

Gallagher, a native Winter Park, Fla., started all 18 sets for the Hurricanes last week, averaging 12 assists and 2.28 digs per set from her setter position. She also tallied 15 kills while committing just one error in 32 attempts. Gallagher led the Hurricanes with 216 assists and ranked second on the team with a .438 attack percentage. Her 41 digs placed her fourth on the team in that category, with the Lake Highland Prep alum adding nine blocks (eight assisted).

Johnson, a freshman from Tallahassee, Fla., has started in all eight matches for the Hurricanes thus far on the campaign. Last week, she hit at a .356 clip, averaging 2.56 kills and 2.50 digs per set. She played in all of the Hurricanes’ 18 sets, tallying 10 blocks and six service aces. She had double-digit kills in three matches, and scooped up double-digit digs in two matches.

Carico Nears 1,000 Kills…
Just eight matches into her junior season, outside hitter Lane Carico is nearing another record-breaking performance in her career at UM. The Manhattan Beach, Calif., native needs just 18 kills to surpass 1,000 kills in her career. If she accomplishes the task within the first 10 games this season, it would make Carico the third-fastest to achieve the honor–only Francheska Savage and Valeria Tipiana achieved the honor quicker in their careers.