Falck's Aces Boost Canes to Victory
By: Ashleigh Young
ORLANDO, Fla.– In a season-high night in aces, it’s only right that the Canes won its third match of the season off back-to-back aces from Amanda Falck.
Miami won its second, five-set match of the season against FAU, 3-2, and now leads the series 10-1. With 10 aces, Miami tallied at least one ace per set with redshirt junior Madison Dill recording a team-high three all in the first set.
“We were really, really good on serving tonight,” associate head coach Kasey Crider said. “I think you can go down the list of people, my Madi Dill deserves a special shoutout for her job. At one point, we actually changed our rotation to have her serve more and she was hitting a really tough serve over and over again.”
The Canes strung together an 11-point run in the first, courtesy of five Miami kills and two aces and four FAU errors. Kennedy Prince, Janet Kalaniuvalu, Elizaveta Lukianova and Janice Leao combined for 12 of Miami’s 13 kills to boast a .458 attack percentage. Miami took the 1-0 lead with a 25-15 set win.
“Part of our plan for this game was to serve the target and we made that an emphasis and all week we worked on it in practice,” Dill said. “For me, when I go and serve in the game, it’s nothing different from when I’m serving in practice. Just maintaining the emotions of the match is something we all struggle with, but it was really awesome for me to go out there and do my job and score behind the service line.”
Miami held FAU to a .000 attack percentage in the second, while picking up six blocks. Lukianova was a nuisance on both sides of the net for the Owls, as the redshirt junior tallied three kills and two blocks in the second.
It was a night of big runs for Miami, as the Canes made a 6-point run to make it 18-11 late in the second. Dill recorded her lone kill of the set to help the Canes take a 2-0 lead at 25-15.
Despite an early dominant performance, FAU made a strong comeback to force a fifth set. Miami held five match points in the third, but the Owls’ resilience held Miami to its lowest attack percentage of the match at .038 percent and took the set, 27-25. The fourth set belonged to FAU with a staggering .538 attack percentage and held the Canes to a set-low, five kills. FAU won the set, 25-12, to force the Canes to a five-set match for just the second time this season.
“We’re not going to shy away from the reality, we kind of coughed away the game there” Crider said. “There’s no disrespect to FAU, but we gave away a set and we talked a lot about that and we weren’t great in set four. I think there’s a little common thread of competitive compassion in this group of when things are hard, they don’t turn on each other. There needs to be more push back.”
The fifth set saw eight tied scores and four lead changes, while Miami staved off one match point at 13-12. Lukianova led the side with four kills, but it was Falck’s heroics that one the match for the Canes. Falck finished the night with a career-high 20 digs and the final two points off two aces.
“The cool part of the night was that it came back to a young person in Amanda, with a really challenging situation,” Crider said. “She had the wind behind her with her teammates and hit two really good serves. She should be really proud of that. That’s pretty tough to do.”
Miami improves to 3-4 on the season and will face UCF on Saturday at 11 a.m. for the final match of the Sunshine State Challenge.