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Volleyball Sweeps UNC in Regular Season Finale

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Miami volleyball closed out the 2021 regular season with a home sweep over North Carolina.

“I’m just so proud of this group, under the circumstances that we were in, they had the ability to move on from one point to the next, one match to the next and improved in every aspect,” head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “The surpassed so many different expectations this season and I think they are proud of what they accomplished this season.”

With just eight players, the Canes dominated the Tar Heels from the jump and never let up. Miami registered 46 kills to North Carolina’s 37 and hit .318 to improve to 11-7 overall on the season.

“We played a dangerous team who played really well against Louisville and serve well and presented big challenges,” Gandara. “We improved from Thursday and came up with the win.”

Miami was led by three Canes with double-digit kills with Elizaveta Lukianova leading both teams with 14 kills and finished with three blocks. Angela Grieve (13) and Janet Kalaniuvalu (12) finished close behind while Kaya Merkler for UNC led the team with 12.

Kalaniuvalu opened the match leading both sides with six kills and hitting .400. She added three digs and helped Miami take the first set, 25-19, closing the set with the final kill.

Kalaniuvalu and Grieve added four more kills each in the second, helping Miami jump out to a 18-12 lead sparked by a seven-point run. The Canes held the Tar Heels to a .095 hitting percentage and just 12 kills and boasted six blocks. Sophomore Kennedy Prince boasted three block assists to help Miami improve its lead 2-0 with a 25-19 set win.

The final and closest set saw the score tied 10 times, but Lukianova’s dominance on offense was too much for the away team. Lukianova added half her total kills in the final set with seven. Miami took set three 25-21.

Grieve registered the match’s lone double-double of the match with her 13 kills and 10 digs. Miami finished with four aces and seven team blocks while Savannah Vach led the match with 34 assists.

“It was a group effort this whole season with the next-man up mentality,” Gandara said. “It was a matter of our players understanding new concepts. We have a really good setter who is able to utilize players in their best positions and we were able to take advantage of opponent weaknesses in order to do what we needed to do.”

After 18 matches, Lukianova led the Canes with 317 kills and 45 blocks. Vach boasted a team-leading 709 assists, while Priscilla Hernandez registered 262 digs and 22 aces.