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Miami Hurricanes Clip FIU Panthers in Volleyball, 3-0

Sept. 11, 2010

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Coral Gables, Fla. – University of Miami junior Lane Carico was named MVP of the 10th Annual Hurricane Invitational as the Hurricanes defeated FIU, 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-13), claiming the championship of this year’s tournament on Saturday evening at the James L. Knight Sports Complex in Coral Gables, Fla.

UM (10-1) was able to recapture the Hurricane Invitational title for the second time in the last three years, suffering a setback a season ago in the title match to the USF Bulls. However, standing in the way was cross-town opponent FIU, who defeated the Hurricanes twice a season ago, including the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament [Gainesville Regional].

The `Canes and Panthers went toe-to-toe in the opening set, with neither team able to take more than a two-point advantage past a 3-1 FIU lead following a service ace from Una Trkulja. After that, the two teams traded the lead five times and saw 15 ties, before UM freshman Taylor Hollins served an ace to give UM a an 18-16 advantage. Moments later, UM led, 20-18, until Andrea Lakovic placed a kill and combined with Jessica Gehrke to knot things up for FIU (4-5) at 20-all.

UM junior outside hitter Christine Williamson punched one of her set-high matching five kills down the stretch to allow the `Canes a 24-22 edge late, while an attack error was charged to the Panthers to allow UM to take a 25-23 victory in the opening set. FIU was led in the first set by Lakovic’s five kills.

In the second set, the teams stood even at 4-4 until Lane Carico blasted a kill from the assist by redshirt-junior Katie Gallagher off the FIU block attempt, beginning a 7-1 `Canes run that was capped off by an attack error charged to FIU. That allowed Miami to roll to a sizeable 11-6 lead, as they never looked back en route to the 25-17 victory in the set, despite six kills from FIU’s Trkulja.

UM’s Carico provided six kills of her own in the set.

In the third frame, Miami led by the smallest of margins (5-4) after FIU’s Gehrke and Lakovic teamed at the net for a block. However, a service error on the very next play for the Panthers allowed the Hurricanes to bolt out to an 11-2 run that included three blocks apiece from Gallagher and junior middle blocker Ali Becker, in addition to a service ace from sophomore Lizzie Hale who served six consecutive points for the `Canes in the rally.

With the score standing at 16-6 in favor of UM following the third block by Gallagher and Becker, Ariell Cooke slammed two kills and Hollins added kills of her own to give UM the victory in the set, 25-13, completing the sweep of the Panthers, 3-0.

FIU was led by Trkulja with 10 kills and six digs. Also playing well for the Panthers was All-Tournament Team members Andrea Lakovic (nine kills, three blocks) and setter Natalia Valentin (30 assists, eight digs, two block assists).

The `Canes, winners of their last eight matches, were charged in the match by Hurricane Invitational MVP Lane Carico, named to an All-Tournament Team for the third consecutive week. Carico finished the match with a double-double performance of 12 kills and 10 digs, while hitting at a .294 clip.

Fellow All-Tournament Team members Gallagher and Williamson also performed well in the win for UM. Gallagher finished the match with a match-high 35 assists, adding 16 digs for a double-double of her own – also collecting three assisted blocks. Williamson ended the night with nine kills on 17 swings, toting a .471 hitting percentage.

Becker added six kills as she finished with an even .500 hitting percentage, and staking three block assists in the victory. Hollins recorded 11 digs, defensively, with classmate libero Ryan Shaffer picking up seven digs.

With Saturday evening’s victory, Miami claimed 10 wins in the third-fastest fashion since the program was brought back in 2001. The 2002 team that advanced to the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA Tournament began the year 15-0, while the 2009 team that produced the best regular season record in school history (26-6) registered a 13-0 mark to begin the slate.

Miami will step back on the court next weekend on Sat., Sept. 18, when the `Canes open Atlantic Coast Conference play with in-state opponent Florida State inside the James L. Knight Sports Complex at 7 p.m.

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.

10th Annual Hurricane Invitational All-Tournament Team
Lane Carico (Jr., OH) – Miami, MVP
Katie Gallagher (RS-Jr., S) – Miami
Christine Williamson (Jr., OH/RS) – Miami
Andrea Lakovic (Jr., MB) – FIU
Natalia Valentin (Sr., S) – FIU
Hadley Simmons (Soph., MB) – San Francisco
Kat Agson (Fr., MB/OH) – Bethune-Cookman