Gamarra, Tipiana help keep ‘Canes streak intact

The Miami Hurricanes women’s volleyball team (7-0) captured the Hurricane Invitational on Sunday, defeating the Fordham Rams, 3-0 at the Knight Sports Complex. The win extended Miami’s winning streak to eighteen, including seven in a row to start the season.

The Hurricanes, who entered the tournament ranked No. 1 in the Big East, did not lost a single game in the tournament. Friday, the ‘Canes shut out their other two opponents, Howard and Oregon. The domination is yet another indication of how far this team has come since the sport was reinstated last year.

“We came in second last year at our home gym and we really wanted to win it this year,” said sophomore hitter Elizabeth Tyson, one of three Hurricanes selected to the all-tournament team.

Ahead 5-3 early in the first game, the ‘Canes went on a 6-point rally behind Valeria Tipiana’s serve. Margie Young helped Miami build on this lead, setting up several attack shots. Young finished the match with a team high 41 assists, almost surpassing her tournament high of 46 set in Friday’s Howard match.

The Hurricanes took a 20-8 lead within a few minutes into the game, capitalizing on a Fordham team that seemed disorganized and vulnerable to the shots put up by Tipiana, Tyson, and Marcella Gamarra. Karla Johnson and Robin Lewullis also provided a solid defense at the net, turning back many of Fordham’s attack shots.

The Hurricanes won the first game 30-15.

“I am really proud of the way we played against a solid Fordham team,” said coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. “We earned it in three; we played very composed and at an extremely high level.”

The Hurricanes dominance carried over to the beginning of game No. 2. Gamarra put Miami on the board first with an attack shot, set up by Young. Gamarra, who was named tournament MVP, aced on her subsequent serve and helped the Hurricanes attain a quick 5-0 lead less than a minute into the second game.

“Marcela is our big gun and our leader,” Lantagne Welch said. “Anytime there was a low on the court, she would get the kill we needed and she really came through for us.”

The Hurricanes won the second game 30-19 and continued their dominance into the third, overcoming a late Fordham rally to defeat the Rams 30-25.

The Hurricanes connected with the ground on over 35 percent of their attack shots, while limiting their opponents to an average attack percent of just 10 percent. Johnson, who played a key role in the formidable Hurricane defense against Fordham, had 15 kills and 2 digs in the 3-0 win over Howard.

Tipiana also stepped up for the Hurricanes in the 3-0 win over Oregon. She recorded 13 kills and 14 digs in the match and joined Gamarra and Tyson in being selected to the all-tournament team.

“We are fired up and really excited about our start,” Lantagne Welch said. “We think that we can do a lot of things this season and it will be fun to see us grow throughout the year.”

The Hurricanes put their undefeated season on the line next Friday, when they face Florida State at FIU.