Volleyball remains undefeated

With Isidore safely out in the Gulf and Lili heading for Haiti, the only Hurricanes threatening our area Wednesday night were on the volleyball court. Remaining undefeated, the UM women’s volleyball team took the Hatters of Stetson University by storm, winning the match 3-0.

The ‘Canes were coming off a 3-0 sweep of Florida Atlantic University last Friday, in which Marcela Gamarra led the team with 12 kills and 13 digs.

In the first game, the ‘Canes seemed to be having slight communication problems. After a much-needed time out, things still didn’t seemed to be picking up for them. Balls were getting hung up in the rafters, and routine plays were being missed. The attitude that has kept this team with the nation’s longest winning streak (23 in a row) pulled through once again, however, and the errors were quickly mended. The ‘Canes rolled right back, making even the most technical digs seems easy.

“There was some confusion in the beginning but then we got together and worked it out,” said sophomore outside hitter Valeria Tipiana.

Tipiana led the team in kills, with fourteen on the night.

Stetson started off the second game answering back to the loss they’d been handed. The ‘Canes seemed a little frazzled but got back on their feet. After an ace courtesy of freshman Karla Johnson, their groove held out for a 30-18 victory.

“We knew we had the talent to beat them,” said UM head coach Nicole Welch, “It’s just a matter of fighting harder.”

And fight harder they did, coming back from an eight point deficit in the third game. At the start, UM seemed determined to finish Stetson off, but it would not be so easy. More communication problems led to a very slow-moving score increase.

In a near minute-long volley, Stetson had the last word and the gym went silent. The shift in momentum didn’t last long, however.

The Hatters had surged ahead 24-16, but Miami outside hitter Elizabeth Tyson would have none of it, delivering a key block followed by a kill to start the ‘Canes’ comeback streak.

“After being down so many points, we had to focus and say ‘this is our game and we have to win it,'” said Tipiana. “Every team has their momentum and I think they lost theirs and we were able to come back.”

A fourth game seemed inevitable when Stetson readied for a game-point serve. The UM frontline blocking talent, however, prevented it. At 30-30, the electrified crowd increased the wind speed of the storm, and the Hurricanes left the necessary two unanswered points for a win in their path.

“I’m really proud of how we played in the third game,” said Welch. “I thought we had a lot of character and poise to come back…Stetson played with a tremendous amount of heart and that’s something we’ve learned from them and hopefully can put to use in our future matches.”

As for the performance of the team: “you’re never satisfied with yourself so you’re always working harder,” said Tipiana.

The entire squad seemed to echo these sentiments Wednesday night.

Sophomores Elizabeth Tyson and Jamie Grass led the Hurricanes in digs, each with 13.

The ‘Canes begin Big East play on the road this weekend when they battle Boston College tomorrow and Providence College Sunday.