The Hurricanes volleyball team completed the non-conference portion of their 2015 schedule with a four-set victory over Central Florida to close out the FIU/Miami Challenge at the Knight Sports Complex Friday night.
The Canes (7-3) won the first set 25-22 while the Knights claimed the second 25-17. The Canes recovered from the loss winning both the third and fourth sets with the familiar score of 25-22.
Outside hitters Taylor Scott and Olga Strantzali led the Canes with 13 kills and 11 digs each.
“Volleyball is a momentum game, so I see what I can do while trusting my ability, my teammates and coaches,” said Scott, the senior from Claremont, California.
The Canes and the Knights battled back and forth throughout the match, but the first set created the tone for the rest of night. The Canes opened with a block by Scott followed by a kill by redshirt junior outside hitter Kelsie Groot.
While the Canes opened well, the Knights had a rocky start with a service error and net violation giving easy points to Miami. They quickly recovered, however, delivering impressive digs and blocks to tie the Canes and then take the lead. After a Miami timeout, the Canes came through with a service ace by senior middle blocker Alexis Mourning. Sophomore setter Haley Templeton delivered the kill to seal the first-set victory.
Senior Kalysta White opened the second set with a service ace for the Canes, but the Knights (5-5) quickly pulled away to tie the match 1-1.
Mourning got Miami off to another hot start in the third set with a kill that sent the home crowd into a frenzy. The two teams battled back and forth, but the Canes emerged victorious thanks to a kill on the final point by Strantzali, the sophomore out of Greece.
With one more set to go in the FIU/Miami Challenge, the Canes fought hard to triumph in the fourth set. Miami had consecutive kills to take a 12-11 lead after trailing early 8-6. The Canes and Knights kept it neck and neck, but Miami reached set point first. With victory in the air, the crowd and bench stood up and threw up the U to show support for the team. The energy paid off with the Canes getting a block for the winning point.
Now the Hurricanes face only conference opponents for the next two months.
“We’re going to play hard. ACC is totally different from pre-season,” Scott said. “It is a different mentality. We’re going to work on things that we are good at and work on things that we aren’t.”
The Canes take on Florida State to open up ACC play at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Tallahassee.