Despite a valiant late-match effort by red-shirt junior Francheska Savage, who registered seven of her match-high 21 kills in the final game, the ‘Canes fell short to Virginia 3-1 (26-30, 31-33, 30-21, 28-30) Friday at the Knight Sports Complex.
One major concern for the Hurricanes (10-7, 5-4) is their performance at home. Miami has posted a 1-2 mark at home in ACC play and a 3-5 overall home record this season. The ‘Canes won their ACC home opener against Clemson on Sept. 30, but suffered two straight home losses to Georgia Tech and Virginia before defeating Virginia Tech Sunday.
Miami Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said the team will respond to the loss and improve its play at home as the season moves along.
“We are competing in every match and are right there competitively,” Lantagne Welch said. “It all comes down to a couple little plays, little adjustments that we need to make quicker within the match. But we love playing at home and we will start to win here soon.”
A bright spot for the Hurricanes has been the play of Savage. Building on her career high 22-kill performance against Florida State last weekend, Savage recorded 21 kills against Virginia while committing just three errors for a .450 hitting percentage. She led all players with 21 kills for the second straight match against Virginia Tech.
Senior Karla Johnson also continued her offensive production, registering 20 kills to go with 17 digs and three block assists in the match.
Red-shirt sophomore Ciara Michel led all players with eight total blocks (2BS, 6BA), while tallying 10 kills and hitting a match-high .500 attacking percentage. Junior Jill Robinson contributed with 50 assists and 17 digs.
In the first game, Virginia controlled the tempo until Miami closed the lead to 28-24. Miami then capitalized on two Cavalier miscues to close to 28-26, but the Hurricanes could not catch up and Virginia claimed a 30-26 game one victory.
Game two was back and forth, as the teams changed leads seven times and tied the score on 17 occasions. Miami led 28-26, but the Hurricanes could not keep the Cavaliers at bay, as they tied the score four times before finally taking the 33-31 win and a 2-0 match lead.
In game three, while Virginia got on the board first, Miami held the Cavs to .171 attacking and forced eight errors en route to a 30-21 victory.
With Virginia up 28-20 in game four, two points shy of claiming the match, a late Miami surge, led by Savage, kept the match alive. Miami registered seven straight points to cut Virginia’s lead to three. Facing match point, Savage and Johnson had consecutive kills to pull within a point, but the Cavaliers managed another kill to end the threat and take the match 30-28.
Savage went 7-for-11 and committed only one error for a .545 hitting percentage in game four.
The Cavaliers had five players post double-digit kills.
The ‘Canes went on to beat Virgitina Tech 3-1 Sunday afternoon.
Michael Holt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.