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Miami Volleyball Upends North Carolina, 3-1

Nov. 14, 2010

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Coral Gables, Fla. – Junior outside hitters Lane Carico and Christine Williamson combined for 37 kills in leading the University of Miami past the visiting University of North Carolina, 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 24-26, 29-27) in an Atlantic Coast Conference volleyball match Sunday at the James L. Knight Sports Complex.

In a battle of two of the top three teams in the league, Miami (20-8, 10-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) looked to stay a half-game ahead in third place with a win over the visiting Tar Heels, ranked second in the conference.

Miami came out strong, winning the first two sets behind a powerful offensive performance from redshirt junior setter Katie Gallagher (Winter Park, Fla.). Gallagher hit .778 through the first two frames, amassing seven kills on attacks that caught UNC blockers unprepared for Gallagher attacks.

Gallagher finished the match with eight kills, her second-highest amount of the year.

Trailing 21-17 in the third set, UNC (21-9, 12-5 ACC) battled back behind the play of Suzanne Haydel and Emily McGee. Miami led 24-22 following a UNC service error, but the Tar Heels used back-to-back UM errors to knot the set at 24-all. McGee and Christine Vaughen both placed kills off the set of Cora Harms to cut into the UM match-lead, 2-1, with the 26-24 set win.

Courtney Johnston and McGee each tallied five kills in the set, while Haydel placed four of her own.

In the fourth set, UM would ride the strength of Lane Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Christine Williamson (Tampa, Fla.) in what was a back-and-forth affair.

Haydel and McGee helped the Tar Heels to an early 11-7 advantage, before widening the lead at 14-9 following blocks from Johnston, Haydel and Shelby Bleke. Two points later, Haydel kept the UNC lead at five (15-10) with a kill off a Harms set.

UM would answer back with a 5-0 run, starting with a kill from freshman Alexandria Johnson (Tallahassee, Fla.). Carico would tally consecutive kills and assist Ariell Cooke (Oakland, Calif.) on a block – with Cooke also recording a solo block, to help UM tie the set at 15. Three times UNC would take two-point leads later in the set, each time only to see UM knot the set with kills from Carico, Williamson and junior middle blocker Ali Becker (Katy, Texas).

UNC served for set point twice in the waning stages, with Carico tying the set each time with a kill. After a Williamson kill, Miami served for match point, 26-25, but UNC’s Vaughen was there for one of her four kills in the frame to knot things once again.

The Tar Heels served for set point at 27-26 before senior middle blocker Cooke started a 3-0 run to close the match with a kill down the line. Williamson put UM up a point later, and UNC committed an attack error to end the set and match for the `Canes, 29-27. Carico finished the fourth frame with a set-high eight kills, followed by Williamson with seven. Cooke added three kills and two blocks (one solo).

With the win, Miami picked up its fourth 20-win season under head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch, and the second in the last three years. UM also stayed a half-game ahead of Florida State for third place in the league standings. Duke moved into a strong-hold of first place with UNC dropping both matches this weekend [L, 3-2 at FSU on Friday night], but UNC still remains a game-and-a-half ahead of UM and FSU for second.

UNC was led on the day by three players in double-figures for kills, using McGee and Haydel with 17 apiece. McGee stamped 13 digs and Haydel added 12 to give both Tar Heels a double-double. Johnston chipped in with 12 kills, five digs and two blocks (one solo). Harms handed up a match-high 54 assists, and libero Kaylie Gibson collected a match-high 31 digs.

For Miami, Carico led all players with 21 kills and a season-high 24 digs. For the Mira Costa High alum, it was her second “20-20” match of the year, and the 59th double-double of her career. She has amassed 13 consecutive double-doubles, and now has five (5) 20-kills, 20-digs matches in her career.

Williamson netted 16 kills on 39 swings, giving the Tampa native a .308 hitting percentage in the match. She also added three blocks (two assisted). Cooke led all UM players with four blocks (two solo), adding eight kills and a career-high nine digs. Becker had nine kills and three assisted blocks.

Gallagher had eight kills and 39 assists, also picking up 12 digs for her 10th double-double on the campaign. On the day, she hit at a match-high .533 clip (8k-0e-15ta). Freshman libero Ryan Shaffer (San Jose, Calif.) finished with a team-high 26 digs, adding three assists.

The Hurricanes continue their four-match homestand next weekend, playing host to Boston College (Fri., Nov. 19) and Maryland (Sun., Nov. 21). Both matches will take place inside the James L. Knight Sports Complex on the UM campus.

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.