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26 September 2010

Balance brings victory

Players Ali Becker (left), Lane Carico, Alex Johnson and Taylor Hollins celebrate a point during the Canes 3-1 win over UVA on Sunday. Alex Broadwell//The Miami Hurricane

The University of Miami volleyball team rebounded nicely from its loss to Florida State last weekend, beating ACC foes Virginia Tech and Virginia over the weekend.

The Hurricanes (12-2, 2-1) won their first ACC matches of the season and did so with offensive efficiency that has been on display all season long.

“We have a lot of people that can contribute and we have a lot of balance,” head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. “We’re a hard team to stop.”

Friday night’s match against Virginia Tech was a great example of that balance.

Not one Miami player registered double-digit kills. Instead, the Hurricanes benefited from six players recording five or more kills in the match, which was all that was needed to put the Hokies away.

“I feel like this year we’ve focused on being able to get the ball to everybody, rather than having one key player.” said junior outside hitter Christine Williamson, who led Miami’s offense with nine kills.

The Hurricanes also showed resilience during the two matches. Despite the victories, Miami was tested in both contests.

In Friday night’s sweep of Virginia Tech, Miami found itself down 17-13 in the second set and in danger of letting the Hokies tie up the match. Instead of conceding the frame, the Hurricanes rallied behind six straight serves from freshman Alex Johnson on the way to a 25-19 set victory.

“In [set] two they kind of went up… the difference was we fought back sooner and harder, and then we played hard all the way through the end,” Lantagne Welch said. “That’s what you want to see. You want to see us fighting for every point.”

In Sunday’s contest Virginia won the first set of the match 25-22, but the Hurricanes stayed composed and won the final three frames of the contest, including a final set that went in to extra points.

The weekend also saw the return of junior setter Katie Gallagher, who left last weekend’s match against Florida State with an apparent right leg injury. Fortunately for the Hurricanes their setter is just fine.

“I just cramped up, it’s a typical injury for dehydration,” Gallagher said.

The victory over Virginia marked the end of a six-game home stand that saw the Hurricanes go 5-1.

Miami travels to North Carolina at the end of the week to face off against UNC and NC State. The matches will take place on Friday night and Sunday afternoon respectively.

Adam Berger may be contacted at aberger@themiamihurricane.com.