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VB Drops Weekend Finale to Coastal Carolina

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team dropped its final match of the UM/FIU Invitational, falling to Coastal Carolina in three sets.

The Hurricanes (2-1) lost a home non-conference match for the first time since Sept. 13, 2013, when the Canes fell in a five-set thriller to LSU. Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara believes Coastal Carolina (3-0) played a complete match Saturday and that proved to be the difference.

“That’s a good team,” Gandara said. “They serve really well. They’re physical at the net. They don’t need to play well to be a good offensive team. They hit well. They serve well. They’re physical at the net, they can block and that just kept them in the game, so it was a tough battle and they were really good tonight.”

The opening set began with a back-and-forth battle, before Coastal Carolina scored five straight points to take a 10-4 lead and force Miami to call timeout. The Hurricanes battled back to cut the lead to four, 18-14, after three straight kills from Olga Strantzali that led Coastal Carolina to call timeout. But the Chanticleers would close the first set by scoring seven of the final nine points to win the set, 25-16.

“They played a lot better [than us] tonight,” Strantzali said. “We have to be better. We have to fix some things. We have to pass better. I feel like that was a good lesson for us because we know what we need to work on next week. Hopefully next week we’re going to play better.”

The second set was a tight one, with neither team leading by more than three points until Coastal Carolina took a 22-18 lead late in the set. The Chanticleers closed out the set, 25-21, to head into the intermission up two sets to none.

Coastal Carolina closed out the match with a decisive third set victory, 25-11. The Chanticleers’ offense hit .350 in the set, while three Coastal players combined for four aces to finish off the third set win.

Strantzali led all Hurricane hitters with a season-high 17 kills against Coastal Carolina. The Preseason All-ACC selection hit .343 for the match and had four digs.

“I thought Olga [Strantzali] was really good offensively, but we have to improve and move forward from this,” Gandara said. “I think the concepts we’re implementing are good. We weren’t able to run our offense off the passes that we had.” 

Fellow preseason all-conference honoree Haley Templeton tallied 27 assists to go with six digs, an ace and a block.

Middle blockers Sakile Simmons and Lucia Pampana combined for eight kills and three blocks. Anna Haak had four kills, two digs and a block, while Brooke McDermott added a pair of kills, two digs and a block.

Junior libero Sylvia Hernandez led the Hurricanes with 12 digs, while Carly Davey and Codi Lee contributed off the bench. Davey had a team-high two aces and two digs, while Lee added four digs. Kolby Bird also came in off the bench for the Hurricanes.

“They’re a good team and we’re somewhat of a young team,” Gandara said. “We have some juniors, but we [also] have a lot of new girls on the court. It was probably our first good battle out and we weren’t ready for it. That’s a concern, [but] I think our girls will respond. I’m sure we will be in battles like that soon and we’ll play a lot better.”

Miami is back in action next weekend at the American Campus Classic, hosted at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. The Hurricanes have three matches scheduled in Austin, beginning at 11 a.m. ET on Sept. 2 against UTSA. Miami plays Lipscomb at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 2 and closes out the tournament at 5 p.m. ET against the host Longhorns. All three matches will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network.

All Hurricanes volleyball home matches are played at the James L. Knight Sports Complex on the University of Miami campus. For a complete look at the Hurricanes’ 2016 schedule, click here.

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.