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Canes Win Fourth Consecutive Match To Open Season

Canes Win Fourth Consecutive Match To Open Season

by Josh White

TAMPA, Fla.  Led by Savannah Vach’s first double-double of the season, the University of Miami volleyball team downed the USF Bulls, 3-1, Friday evening.

The junior setter tallied a season-best 38 assists and co-career-high 12 digs as the Hurricanes (4-0) opened their season on a four-match win streak for the first time in four years.

“It may seem a little odd but I really like tonight’s win,” Canes head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “We were so far from perfect but we weren’t fragile. This is a grownup group, in spite of nine newcomers. They make it fun to compete and I’m really honored I get to do this with them.”

Miami claimed the opening two sets, 25-19 and 25-18, respectively, before closing out the match with a 25-15 victory in the fourth frame. The Hurricanes have now won 12 of their first 13 sets, including 11 straight to begin the season.

With the first set level at 16-16, the Hurricanes rattled off five consecutive points to grab a 21-16 advantage. Miami capitalized on a pair of USF mistakes to close out the set, 25-19.

Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Angela Grieve paced Miami’s attack, recording six of her season-high 16 kills in the first frame.

In the second set, the Canes took command, snatching a 19-14 cushion. Outside hitter Janet Kalaniuvalu strung together a couple of kills before Kennedy Prince ultimately tacked on the finishing touches in the period.

After the Bulls (1-3) rebounded with a tight 25-23 result in the third set, the Hurricanes opened the fourth frame on a 7-2 run and never looked back.

Freshman outside hitter Nyah Anderson sparked Miami’s response in the final set, posting six kills in her first appearance in the orange and green.

“I think everyone has a soft spot for great debut performances – how about Nyah Anderson,” Gandara said. “I think she was perfect in the fourth set attack. There’s no reason we shouldn’t expect lots more of those kinds of outings from her for the next four years.”

The Canes finished the night with a 49-36 edge in kills, while outhitting the Bulls, .149 to .044. Eight different Hurricanes notched kills, led by Grieve.

Junior middle blocker Janice Leao tied a career-high with eight blocks and libero Priscilla Hernandez totaled a match-high 17 digs.

“To me, one of the more peculiar things was Janice Leao not being named to the preseason All-ACC team,” Gandara said. “To think that she’s not one of the best dozen or so players in our conference at a minimum is a mistake. She’ll have lots more performances like she did blocking tonight. I bet that at the end of the season, the ACC will wonder what we all were thinking.”

The Hurricanes wrap up the USF/UM Tournament Sunday at 1 p.m. when they welcome the Bulls to the Knight Sports Complex with action televised live on ACC Network Extra.

To keep up with the University of Miami volleyball team on social media, follow @CanesVB on Twitter and Facebook, as well as @Canes_VB on Instagram.