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Canes Drop Opening Match at Sunshine State Challenge

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A late rally by the Miami volleyball program gave FGCU a scare in the third set, but wasn’t enough for the Canes to overcome in the first match of the Sunshine State Challenge. 
 
For the fourth time this season, Miami featured four freshmen in the starting lineup, but fell to 2-4 on the season after a 3-0 loss to the Eagles Friday morning. Freshman Janice Leao recorded a career-high outing in kills, finishing the match with five and a .364 attack percentage. 
 
FGCU dominated the first set, registering an attack percentage of .391, converting 13 kills on 23 attempts. Miami began the match on a 4-0 run, with kills by Janet Kalaniuvalu and Elizaveta Lukianova and an ace by Savannah Vach. Miami strung together just five kills and two aces in the first. FGCU took the early 1-0 lead with a 25-13 set win. 
 
Again, Miami registered two more aces from Amanda Falck and Kalaniuvalu in the second set. Freshman Kennedy Prince, Kalaniuvalu, redshirt junior Madison Dill and Leao all recorded two kills apiece to help the Canes tally nine kills. The Canes outdid the Eagles on defense with six blocks and six digs, but the Eagles scored the last six points of the set to take the 2-0 lead. 
 
The third set, the closest of the three, saw 13 tied scores and five lead changes. For the fourth match of the season, Prince led the Canes in kills with seven of her totaled 11 coming in the third. Prince now holds a team-high 91 kills on the season. 
 
After an FGCU timeout tied at 15, Miami went on a six-point run to take a 21-15 lead, its biggest lead of the match. The Eagles’ late rally forced Miami to call a timeout tied at 23, but FGCU claimed the final two points to take the set. 
 
Miami returns to the court at 4:30 p.m. to face FAU in its second match of the Sunshine State Challenge.