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@CanesVB Falls to No. 22 FSU in Four Sets

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team battled, but fell short against No. 22 Florida State.

Miami (15-10, 8-7 ACC) fell in four sets to the Seminoles, but saw several players step up against their in-state rival.

“I think Florida State’s a good team,” Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “We got them in trouble and they got out of it. But, we got them in trouble and that’s the first step. I like the way we did that. We didn’t capitalize on those opportunities. I sure liked us in game three and also game two. We just have to learn how to play like that as much as we can. That’s a good team and they deserved it better.”

Florida State took the first set, 25-16, but Miami got a solid performances from junior Savanah Leaf. The outside hitter led all players with six kills in the first set. Leaf and junior middle blocker Emani Sims were also active at the net defensively, picking up two blocks apiece.

Miami led for most of the second set thanks in part to stellar play from Leaf. The junior tallied three consecutive aces that propelled the Canes on a 6-0 run to take a 15-9 lead in the second set.

The Hurricanes led 21-16, but Florida State battled back to even the set at 22. The Seminoles scored three of the final four points to take the second set, 25-23, and take a 2-0 lead into the intermission.

“There were two games in game two,” Gandara said. “We got in trouble serving and it became a serving game. Then they started playing and they played better than us at the end of the game (two). It was kind of a little bit like game four. It certainly does hurt. We got to be careful, we can’t play with the score, we have to play one point at a time.”

Miami came out of the intermission ready to play and took the third set, 25-21. Leaf led the Miami attack, picking up seven kills in the set. Misty Ma’a was also a key hitter for Miami, chipping in with five kills to help the Hurricanes earn a victory in the third set.

The Seminoles closed out their four-set victory, taking the final set 25-13. Florida State was led by sisters Nicole and Elise Walch. Nicole led all FSU players with 16 kills, while Elise added 11 kills against Miami.

“It’s just a matter of executing better,” Gandara said. “We have to look at it from our end and what we can do. They didn’t make many changes, maybe a few, a few rotations, we changed our scheme a little bit. We didn’t kill the ball enough in game two, we killed the ball in game three, and game four we didn’t kill the ball. A little credit to their block, but also our shot selection a little bit.”

Leaf finished as Miami’s top attacker, collecting a game-high 16 kills to go with four service aces and five blocks.

Ma’a was also active, registering a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs. Sims finished with seven kills and five blocks, while fellow middle blocker Alexis Mourning added five kills and three blocks. Senior Alex Johnson tallied six kills and 15 digs against Florida State.

Setter Blair Fuentez distributed 35 assists and added an ace and a block, while defensive specialist Ryan Shaffer collected 24 digs. Shaffer sits just eight digs behind Miami’s all-time digs leader, Cassie Loessberg (2,008).

Miami’s next match is at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15. The Canes will host Notre Dame at the Knight Sports Complex in their first trip to Coral Gables since joining the ACC. There is a special 2-for-1 promotion available for Friday’s match that will grant anyone who attends the volleyball match with free admission to the women’s basketball game that night against Middle Tennessee. The women’s hoops game is scheduled to tipoff at 8 p.m. at the BankUnited Center.

Following this weekend’s matches, the Canes will host Duke and Wake Forest in the second of three consecutive home weeks. The match against Duke is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m., while the Wake Forest match is schedule for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24.

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).