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@CanesVB Beats No. 20 Purdue in Five Sets

BATON ROUGE, La. – The University of Miami volleyball team defeated No. 20 Purdue in five sets to open its stay at the LSU Tournament in Baton Rouge.

The Canes jumped to a 2-0 lead, winning the first two sets 25-19 to head into the intermission with a big advantage in the match. But the Boilermakers showed why they are considered one of the top teams in the country, battling to take the next two sets 26-24 and force a decisive fifth set.

“It’s a huge win for our program,” Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “Purdue is a good team and they fought us tough. I’m proud of the way the girls played after disappointing Games 3 and 4. It was exciting to see them understand the situation and respond.”

Miami (4-3, 0-0 ACC) earned the victory with a resilient effort in the final set, scoring four straight points to close out the 15-13 win in the fifth set that was caped by an Olga Strantzali service ace that secured the five-set win for the Canes.

“I think we understood the challenge,” Gandara said. “Purdue is good team and we saw it on film. They are a physical, Big Ten team. We are learning to go play-to-play and point-to-point. We controlled our errors in Game 5 and it worked out well.”

Strantzali was Miami’s leader in the attack, notching a team-high 18 kills, while tallying seven digs, a block and a team-high three service aces. The sophomore was one of three Hurricanes to finish with double-digit kills, joined by senior Taylor Scott and junior Kelsie Groot.

Both Scott and Groot finished with double-doubles against the Boilermakers. Scott recorded 14 kills and a team-high 22 digs adding four blocks and a service ace, while Groot picked up 13 kills and 18 digs against Purdue.

“It was a good defensive match I think Taylor and Kelsie responded,” Gandara said. “We changed our defensive scheme and it paid off. We had been working at it in practice and it was a good effort defensively.”

Miami’s middle blockers were active at the net as Alexis Mourning and Lucia Pampana combined for 16 kills and eight blocks. Mourning showed her senior experience, picking up nine kills and a team-high six blocks, while the freshman Pampana added seven kills and two blocks.

Haley Templeton paced the Hurricane offense, dishing out 52 assists and adding three kills and a service ace. Senior Kalysta White recorded 19 digs as Miami’s libero and added two service aces to round out the seven tallied by the Hurricanes in the night.

Saturday’s victory over the 20th-ranked Boilermakers was Miami’s first win over a ranked team since beating No. 12 North Carolina in five sets on Nov. 3, 2013. The victory was also the program’s first win over a ranked opponent away from Coral Gables since Miami beat No. 15 Wisconsin in four sets in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Dec 7, 2002.

“This was a total team effort and I am proud of the girls and how they competed,” Gandara said.

The Hurricanes are scheduled to take on LSU at 2 p.m. on Sept. 13 in a match that will be broadcasted live on SEC Network+. Miami will close out the non-conference portion of its 2015 schedule next week with the FIU/Miami Challenge, hosting Seattle University at 7 pm on Sept. 17 and UCF at 7 PM on Sept. 18. Both matches will be play at the James L. Knight Sports Complex and admission is free.

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.