Freshmen provide a spark

Lane Carico keeps her eye on the ball as she looks for the kill against FSU. File Photo by Steve Root // Hurricane Staff.

The University of Miami volleyball team won its 12th straight game to start the season, and they have won 14 straight dating back to last season.

UM has swept seven of its 12 opponents thus far. In the other five matches, the Canes have found themselves down after the first set, but all five times the Canes have persevered and come back to take each match.

Last year, the Hurricanes won just three times after faltering in the first set.

Fittingly, the volleyball team’s theme song this year is Desloc Piccalo’s single titled “Vibe-N.” The main lyrics to the song are “in my zone.”

No players are in the zone more than freshmen outside hitters Lane Carico and Ali Becker.

Although the team is anchored by Genny Mayhew, Katie Gallagher and Cassie Loessberg, Becker and Carico have played integral roles, leading to the teams’ best start since the 2002 season, when they opened up 15-0.

On Monday Carico was named ACC Player of the Week after UM defeated two in-state rivals last weekend, Florida State and FAU.

She has started every game despite being a freshman, and she has come to play in each one. Carico had back-to-back double digits in kills and digs in those games, and she leads the team with five double-doubles.

Carico is from Manhattan Beach, Calif. She led her high school to three straight state championships and was nationally ranked as the No. 66 senior by volleyballprep.com.

Carico had lots of offers but decided to choose The U.

“I like that [Miami] is close to the beach,” the 5’11” Carico said. “I also like the private school aspect, and it has a great education and the volleyball program is a lot of fun.”

Carico’s sister, Taylor, is a junior at the University of Southern California. Taylor was named a second team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and was named first team All-Conference in the Pac-10 last year.

Lane has learned a lot from her sister.

“My sister and I are really close,” she said. “We call each other after every one of our games. We learn from each other and wish each other luck. [Taylor] inspires me to achieve really high goals. My whole family is really competitive so we all aim high.”

Carico is second on Miami in kills and digs and tied for a team lead in service aces.

Becker, Carico’s suitemate, is from Katy, Texas.

She was a highly touted recruit who earned first team All-District and Academic All-District honors during her senior season in high school.

Thus far, Becker has been very handy doing whatever she can on the court to help the team win, and she has started in every game.

“I am really surprised about the amount of playing time thus far,” the 6’1″ Becker said. “I started playing volleyball in seventh grade and I was on the C team. I just kept working hard every day and played a lot of club [volleyball].”

Head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch knows how vital her two young stars are.

“Our freshmen have come in ready to play and ready to make a difference on the court.”

The Canes are in the midst of a five game road trip. This week they head to North Carolina to play ACC foes Duke on Thursday and Wake Forest on Friday. Both games start at 7 p.m.

Duke will be Miami’s toughest opponent thus far, as they swept the Canes twice last year and are off to a 9-3 start.

The Hurricanes will look to feed off their two young stars and return to Coral Gables with their best start ever, 16-0.

September 24, 2008


Justin Antweil

Senior Sports Writer

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