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@CanesVB Ready for No. 19 FSU and Notre Dame

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team hits the road for key conference matches this week, facing No. 19 Florida State and Notre Dame.

The Canes (13-3, 6-0 ACC) are coming off a productive home weekend, beating both Pitt and Maryland in three sets. But Miami has a quick turnaround, traveling to Tallahassee, Fla., for a Wednesday night match against Florida State and to South Bend, Ind., on Friday for their first ACC battle against Notre Dame. The match against the Seminoles will be broadcasted live at 8 p.m. on ESPNU and ESPN3, while Friday’s match against Notre Dame is set to begin at 7 p.m.

“I think every match in this conference is a challenge,” Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “We have played back-to-backs and Friday-Sunday. We saw this a long time ago and it shouldn’t be an issue because we knew about it. We’re going to prepare the best we can and go.”

Miami split last season’s series with Florida State, beating No. 6 FSU before a record crowd at the Knight Sports Complex on Sept. 7, 2012. The Noles protected their home court, defeating Miami at Tully Gym on Nov. 23, 2012, to clinch the conference championship. The Hurricanes last faced Notre Dame in 2009, falling in five sets.

The Canes will be led by senior captains Alex Johnson and Ryan Shaffer. Johnson, who has started every match in her career at Miami, will play in her hometown of Tallahassee for the final time in her collegiate career. Shaffer, who ranks second in the ACC with 4.64 digs per set, will be a key part of Miami’s defense.

Junior outside hitter Savanah Leaf leads a potent Miami attack that ranks 27th in the nation with 14.00 kills per set. Leaf, who leads the Canes with eight double-doubles this season, ranks third in the ACC with 3.85 kills per set. Fellow juniors Emani Sims and Alexis Mourning, as well as sophomore Misty Ma’a, will also play key roles in Miami’s offense.

Blair Fuentez will look to continue her success distributing the ball. The junior setter ranks fourth in the ACC with 10.52 assists per set. Miami’s setter has at least 33 assists in each of the Canes’ six conference matches this season.

Following this week’s trip to Tallahassee and South Bend, Miami will hit the road for the fourth time in five weeks. The Hurricanes are set to face Wake Forest in a match that will be broadcasted on ESPN3 at 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 and Duke at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 26.

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).