No. 25 Miami Stops No. 21 Florida State in Regular Season Finale
Nov. 26, 2011
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Lane Carico staked a season-high 29 kills as the 25th-ranked University of Miami Hurricanes upset the No. 21 Florida State Seminoles, 3-1, in Atlantic Coast Conference volleyball action on Saturday inside the James L. Knight Sports Complex. The Canes won the match on scores of 25-16, 33-31, 21-25 and 25-22.
In the first-ever meeting between two ranked teams in Coral Gables in the sport of volleyball, and the first time FSU and UMiami have ever faced each other as ranked opponents in the sport, the excitement and buzz surrounding the match was clearly worth the hype. A record crowd of 1,071 fans packed the James L. Knight Sports Complex for the regular season finale for both teams.
With FSU (24-6, 18-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) having already clinched the ACC title a week prior, the Hurricanes looked to clinch sole possession of second place in the final league standings, in addition to defeating their second ranked foe of the year at home. The Hurricanes also looked for a bit of redemption after FSU snapped the Canes nine-match win streak earlier in the year by way of a 3-0 decision at Tully Gym in Tallahassee, Fla. in a match televised nationally on ESPNU.
Miami (25-4, 16-4 ACC) not only proved to be a contender in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, but proved to be much more. Also proven, the reason senior All-America outside hitter Lane Carico of UMiami was this year’s choice for ACC Player of the Year.
The Hurricanes dominated the opening set by a 25-16 decision.
UMiami limited FSU to just .212 hitting in the opening frame while using a match-high .481 clip themselves. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Emani Sims and outside hitter Carico each posted five kills in the opening set, while Sims went on to collect three blocks and sophomore right side Alex Johnson contributed five assists.
The second set saw 13 ties and four lead changes – three of which came with at least one team serving for set-point down the stretch. The end result would be the longest set played inside the Knight Sports Complex since moving to the 25-point set system in 2008.
Miami raced out to an early 8-2 run behind kills from senior middle blocker Ali Becker, Johnson and Carico. The Seminoles chipped into the lead and eventually took their first lead of the match at 19-18 on the strength of a kill from Elise Walch. Teammate Visnja Djurdjevic was a spark behind the run, rallying her team with four kills during the comeback. FSU served for set-point, 24-23, before Miami sophomore outside hitter Taylor Hollins punched home a kill followed by a kill from Carico. That allowed the Canes to serve their first chance at set-point.
The Canes would serve for set-point five more times down the stretch until Sims put the Canes ahead on a block, 32-31. The match stretched to 2-0 in favor of the Canes after Carico placed a kill for the 33-31 edge.
After FSU collected a 25-21 victory in the third set, Miami appeared determined in the final frame.
Player of the Year Lane Carico put down 10 kills and redshirt senior setter and All-ACC performer Katie Gallagher setup 16 assists in the final frame. Added four kills from Johnson and two more All-ACC player Ali Becker and redshirt senior outside hitter Christine Williamson, and the Hurricanes evened the yearly series against the Seminoles, 25-22, in the final set.
Florida State was led in the match by five players reaching double figures for kills. Djurdjevic collected 16, followed by Sareea Freeman (12), Rachael Morgan (13), Jekaterina Stepanova (10) and Ashley Neff (10). Stepanova added 20 digs for a double-double performance, as well as Djurdjevic with 18 digs to collect her double-double.
Miami used blocking as the key to the match as they took a commanding 11-4 advantage at the net. Sims picked up a season-high tying nine blocks, while Carico collected five and Johnson three.
Carico’s match-high and season-high 29 kills led all players while she also accounted for 17 digs and a double-double – her 11th consecutive. Carico also staked a .410 hitting percentage in the match. Sims produced 14 kills and hit .333 in the match, while Tampa native Williamson tallied 11 kills. Johnson had 10 digs and nine kills, combined with Gallagher’s double-double effort of 56 assists and 16 digs.
It was sophomore libero Ryan Shaffer of the Hurricanes collecting a team-high 19 digs.
Miami will now wait to see where they will be seeded in next weekend’s NCAA Tournament. The Canes will hold a watch party for the NCAA Selection Show inside the H-100 Room of the BankUnited Center on the campus of the University of Miami on Sunday, Nov. 27. All are invited to attend as refreshments will be served. The event begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the selection show at 6 p.m.
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.