UM Hits the Road for a Pair of Matches in North Carolina

UM Hits the Road for a Pair of Matches in North Carolina

Sept. 29, 2010

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Coral Gables, Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team travels to the “Old North State” this weekend for a pair of matches along venerable tobacco road, facing North Carolina (Oct. 1) and NC State (Oct. 3). This serves as the first away matches in league play for the Hurricanes this season.

Miami enters the weekend with a 12-2 overall record, and a 2-1 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). UM has won its last two ACC contests, and 10 of its last 11 matches overall. The lone loss during that stretch came against in-state foe No. 15 Florida State (Sept. 18) in a tough 3-1 decision.

Traditionally, this weekend’s pair of matches against UNC and NC State has been a mid-season match-up for the Hurricanes, this being the earliest UM is facing either of the two North Carolina schools since UNC claimed a 2-0 win on Sept. 29, 1980.

Miami meets the University of North Carolina on Fri., Oct. 1, at 7 p.m., in Chapel Hill. The `Canes will then face NC State on Sun., Oct. 3, at 1 p.m., in Raleigh.

Miami is hitting better than its opponent by a .272-to-.190 advantage, led percentage-wise by junior middle blocker Ali Becker (Katy, Texas) with a .382 clip (82k-16e-173ta). The hitting percentage for the `Canes leads the ACC, while Becker’s mark places her fourth in the league in that category.

As a team, Miami also sits atop the ACC in kills (750). Junior outside hitter Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) leads all UM attackers with 170 kills, followed closely by junior Christine Williamson (Tampa, Fla.) with 143.

The Hurricanes are second in the league in assists (698), led by redshirt-junior setter Katie Gallagher (Winter Park, Fla.) with 507, which also leads the conference. The `Canes are also ranked second in the league in digs, using freshman libero Ryan Shaffer (San Jose, Calif.) for a lot of those digs, recording a team second-best 181 digs (3.69 per set). Carico leads the team with 183 digs (3.52 per set), followed by freshman outside hitter Alexandria Johnson (Tallahassee, Fla.) with 133 digs (2.61 per set).

Senior middle blocker Ariell Cooke (Oakland, Calif.) is the force at the net for the `Canes, collecting a team-high 46 blocks, followed by Becker with 43 and Gallagher with 30.

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Quick Hits on North Carolina…
The Tar Heels of North Carolina come into Friday’s contest sporting a 12-4 overall record, while being unbeaten at 3-0 in ACC play. Two of UNC’s four losses have come against nationally-ranked teams. The Tar Heels have defeated NC State, Boston College and Maryland as their ACC wins.

UNC is led offensively by Courtney Johnston with 151 kills, followed by Christine Vaughen with 134 kills. Two more Tar Heels attackers have 100-plus kills, with Suzanne Haydel (129) and Emily McGee (108). Shelby Bleke leads the squad in blocks (54), with Vaughen seated second (48). The Tar Heels use a two-setter system with Cora Harms (392 assists) and Erica Behm (253 assists). The libero for the Tar Heels is Kaylie Gibson, leading the way in digs with 276.

Series Against the Tar Heels…
The series between the Hurricanes and Tar Heels stands even, 8-8. UNC has won the last two meetings in the series, winning the only match-up between the two last year in Coral Gables.

Quick Hits on NC State…
NC State first-year head coach Bryan Bunn has helped the NC State Wolfpack to an 11-4 record overall, and a 1-2 record in league play. Key wins for NC State include Boston College, Elon and UNC Wilmington, just to name a few.

The Wolfpack lean on a trio of players to spark the offense, with Becah Fogle leading the charge with 168 kills, 18 blocks and 13 service aces. Behind her are Margaret Salata (145 kills, 61 blocks) and Luciana Shafer (128 kills, 143 digs). The setter for the Wolfpack is Megan Cyr, leading the way with 544 assists. NC State is charged defensively by libero Kelly Wood with 160 digs.

Series Against the Wolfpack…
Miami is perfect against one ACC opponent all-time–NC State. UM is 11-0 against the Wolfpack in a series that dates back to 2004 when the Hurricanes first came into the ACC. Miami claimed the only meeting between the two teams last year in Coral Gables, 3-0. In fact, the last four matches against the Wolfpack have come by 3-0 decisions.

Carico Sets New School Record…
With a dig in the fourth set of Miami’s 3-1 victory over Virginia on Sun., Sept. 26, junior outside hitter Lane Carico became the first player in UM history to record 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career.