The University of Miami volleyball team will have a major chip on its shoulder this upcoming season.
Last year the Hurricanes (26-6, 14-6) finished third in the ACC, but missed out on the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight season.
“We realized we were one match away from an ACC Championship,” ninth-year head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. “That would have clinched [an NCAA Tournament berth]for us. Just knowing that one match made such a big difference leaves everybody extremely hungry and driven. We realize the little things are what make the difference. We want to leave no doubt [this coming year]we will be in.”
Although the team did not make the field of 64, many members were honored with numerous individual accolades.
Outside hitter Lane Carico was named ACC Freshman of the Year and earned second team All-ACC honors along with fellow outside hitter Genny Mayhew.
Lantagne Welch, who won ACC Coach of the year, led the team to 26 wins, which were the most since 2002. The program started that season under the helm of Lantagne Welch, who took the reins after serving as an assistant coach at Texas A&M for four years.
Returning to the Canes is their nucleus of players. The aforementioned Carico and Mayhew were first and second on the team in kills per set respectively.
Libero Cassie Loessberg was voted MVP last year by her teammates and broke her own record by notching the most digs (554) in school history in a single season. She is also a tremendous defensive asset.
Setter Katie Gallagher orchestrates the offense, finishing fifth in the conference in assists per set by averaging just over 10. She has tremendous vision and hustles all over the court, and fittingly won the team’s 100% Award for her efforts.
This veteran squad is motivated to succeed and have NCAA Tournament aspirations.
“Fans can look forward to a great show,” Mayhew said. “We have a great offense that is fun to watch. We have fun while we are playing and I think we will have a great atmosphere in our gym.”
Lantagne Welch echoed the same thoughts.
“We have high expectations about what we can accomplish in the fall. Hurricanes fans can expect to see an exciting atmosphere, and we hope to be vying for the ACC Championship.”
All home games can be heard on 90.5 FM WVUM, the University of Miami student radio station.