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Volleyball Ends Spring at Fiesta on Siesta Key Tournament

April 15, 2011

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team will wrap up its 2011 spring season on Saturday, April 16, competing in the annual Fiesta on Siesta Key Beach Volleyball Tournament in Siesta Key, Fla. The event begins in the morning and runs through the late stages of the afternoon/evening.

This will be the first year that teams from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) will join the Fiesta on Siesta Key. For the past two years, the tournament was held in conjunction with the SEC Coaches Beach Volleyball Championship – which will not take place this year.

Under the direction of head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch, this will mark UM’s third year at the event as the Hurricanes have produced positive results each of the last two years there.

“The Fiesta on Siesta Key is a great tournament and experience for our team,” said Lantagne Welch. “Playing sand volleyball enhances ball-control and provides experience you can bring to your game. I’m excited to get outside and see what they can do in the sand.”

Beach volleyball is vastly becoming a widely-revered sport around the country. A lot of collegiate teams are beginning to participate in beach-sanctioned events throughout the spring practice/schedule period, especially teams in Florida.

“With sand volleyball being named to the list of Emerging Sports for Women by the NCAA, we expect the demand for entry into our event to be off the chart,” said Fiesta co-director David Carstenson.

Tom Collett joins Carstenson as the other co-director for the event.

The Hurricanes will field five doubles teams in this year’s tournament, including last year’s bronze medal winning duo of Katie Gallagher and Ali Becker. The other teams for the Canes will be Lane Carico and Ryan Shaffer; Taylor Hollins, Lizzie Hale and Christine Williamson; Nrithya Sundararaman and Alexandria Johnson; Julia Giampaolo, Emani Sims and Mariel Schofield.

According to Lantagne Welch, teams of three will sub in.

A year ago, Carico teamed with Lici McGee to claim a silver medal in the Gold Division.

The rules for this weekend are as follows: teams are first put in pool play, followed by a re-seeding process pairing teams into three different divisions. The two top teams venture into the Gold Division, followed by the Silver Division and then Bronze Division. Teams are first seeded by record and then by total points allowed.

The Hurricanes volleyball team has been practicing for the event in the sand volleyball recreation courts on the UMiami campus.

This year’s tournament field includes numerous schools from around the state of Florida, with names like the University of Florida, UCF, Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville joining UM. LSU also enters this year’s field for the first time, with the termination of the SEC Coaches Beach Volleyball Championship.

For a complete list of participating schools and further information on the Fiesta on Siesta Key Beach Volleyball Tournament, please log on to www.fiestaonsiestakey.com.

For more information on the University of Miami volleyball team, please log on to HurricaneSports.com. Once there, you will find up-to-date news, stats and information regarding the Hurricanes volleyball program.

Fans can keep up-to-date with all UM Athletics via twitter at Twitter.com/HurricaneSports. You can also become a fan of the Canes on Facebook at Facebook.com/MiamiHurricanes.