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@CanesVB Drops ACC Home Opener to Notre Dame

CORAL GABLES, Fla.  – The University of Miami volleyball team dropped its ACC home opener Sunday to Notre Dame.

The Hurricanes (6-8, 0-2 ACC) hosted the Fighting Irish (11-3, 2-0 ACC) at the James L. Knight Sports Complex on the University of Miami campus. Miami and Notre Dame battled early, but the Fighting Irish emerged victorious.

“The challenge is that you know what is going on and you are unable to correct it, so they took advantage of it,” Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “That’s a well-coached team and they took advantage of some weaknesses that we weren’t able to correct.”

The opening set was hard fought between both teams, but Notre Dame would earn the win, 25-22, to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Hurricanes kept it close, despite having six service errors, two ball handling errors and giving up five service aces.

“We had six serving errors, two ball handling errors and gave up five aces, so we gave up too many points to a good opponent,” Gandara said.

Notre Dame would win the second set, 25-15, to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission. Miami made a late push in the set, but a 22-6 deficit would prove to be too much to overcome.

Miami and Notre Dame battled again early in the third set, before the Irish took an 8-3 lead and forced the Canes to call timeout. Notre Dame continued to apply pressure on Miami, building up a 21-13 lead before closing out the set, 25-15, and the match in three sets.

“In Game 2, they played really well and we got stuck in a rotation,” Gandara said. “In Game 3, we played better, but it was a little bit of an uphill battle.”

Olga Strantzali led all players with 17 kills, hitting .333 while adding six digs, two blocks and a service ace.

Anna Haak and Kolby Bird each recorded seven kills against the Fighting Irish. Bird hit .385 for the match, adding two digs, a block and an assist. Haak had eight digs and an assist against Notre Dame.

Middle blocker Lucia Pampana had three kills, a service ace and a team-high five blocks, while fellow middle blocker Sakile Simmons had a dig.

Hannah Sorensen distributed 31 assists, adding eight digs, a block and a service ace. Sylvia Hernandez led all Hurricanes with 11 digs. Freshmen Madison Dill and Carly Davey also saw action in reserve, with Davey recording three digs and an assist.

“Our numbers show a lot of improvement, we’re just not cashing in on it, yet,” Gandara said. “We just have to keep doing the same and expect to continue to improve. We are right there, even though the score doesn’t show it.”

Following this weekend’s matches, Miami will host Boston College and Syracuse during the second week of ACC play. Boston College will face Miami at the Knight Sports Complex at 7 p.m. ET on Sept. 30, while Syracuse plays the Canes at 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 2.

All Hurricanes volleyball home matches are played at the James L. Knight Sports Complex on the University of Miami campus. Admission is free. 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.