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@CanesVB Sweeps Pitt in ACC Home Opener

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – After opening conference play with consecutive road trips, the University of Miami volleyball team felt right at home Friday in its ACC opener against Pitt.

The Canes (12-3,5-0 ACC) swept the Panthers, 25-18, 25-19 and 25-20, to remain unbeaten in conference play. Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara was pleased with his team’s performance in their first ACC home match of the season.

“I like the way we played today,” Gandara said. “Our numbers were good and I liked the mentality we had. We were working on our game as we played the match. The connection was better than it has been. It’s nice to do that at home where you can get easily distracted. Hopefully we can do the same on Sunday.”

Miami’s attack was balanced and successful, hitting a season-best .376 as a team. Alex Johnson, Savanah Leaf and Misty Ma’a each had a team-high 10 kills Friday against Pitt.  

“We’ve been working on it, keeping our tempo in our offense,” Gandara said of his team’s hitting success. “Our setters have been working with the hitters to understand what makes it easy to run our offense. We’ve been getting better through working in practice.”

Junior setter Blair Fuentez distributed the ball well, collecting 33 assists while giving ample opportunities for the Canes to shine against Pitt’s defense.

The Hurricanes also shined serving, collecting seven aces as a team. Johnson led Miami with a trio of aces, while Fuentez added a pair and Ma’a and Alexis Mourning each contributed one service ace.

“I want that to be one of our identities,” Gandara said. “We work on it a lot and take pride in it. Aces kind of just happen. I think we just serve the ball as tough as we can to the right places. It was a great night. Serving is huge and I think it really helped us.”

Defensively, Miami was led by junior Emani Sims’ five blocks. The middle blocker, who was honored with the raising of a commemorative banner for her 2012 AVCA All-America selection, also added seven kills against the Panthers.

The Hurricanes are back in action Sunday at 1 p.m. against Maryland. Miami will play its annual “Dig Pink” match to help find a cure for breast cancer. The Canes will wear pink to raise awareness and Dig Pink t-shirts will be available for purchase with proceeds going towards breast cancer research. Donations towards breast cancer research can also be made in person on Sunday or online by clicking here.

Miami volleyball season tickets are available for $35. Canes fans can also purchase a combined season ticket package for volleyball and soccer for $50. Single-game volleyball tickets are just $5 for adults and $3 for youth (Ages 3-17). For more information or to purchase tickets, visit CanesTix.com or call 305-284-2263.

For all the latest information on Miami Hurricanes volleyball, follow the official Twitter feed, @CanesVB, or “Like Us” on Facebook at facebook.com/UMVolleyball. The program is also on Instagram (CanesVB).