volleyball sweeps the hurricane invitational

Miami grabbed the Hurricane Invitational by the horns and didn’t let go as they plowed through Manhattan, Kent State, and Indiana last weekend at the Knight Sports Complex.
The ‘Canes swept both Manhattan and Kent State, finishing both schools off in three games apiece. The Hoosiers gave them a bit of struggle in the second game, but it proved to not be enough to break the Hurricanes in this tournament.
“Our passing broke down,” Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. “And on top of that, we got tentative at the net.”
Miami’s funk didn’t last long as it eased through the next two games of the match and grabbed the 3-1 victory.
Junior outside hitter Valeria Tipiana was named the Invitational’s Tournament MVP with a total of 43 kills. Junior outside hitter Biz Tyson and junior libero Jamie Grass made the All-Tournament Team posting 34 kills and 50 digs, respectively. Sophomore setter Margie Young claimed 97 assists, while senior outside hitter Leyre Santaella Sante finished with 34 kills.
Young, a backup for most of last season, stepped up for injured starting setter Mallorey James.
“There was a lot of pressure for me coming in but I had the whole team behind me,” Young said. “It’s all a team effort and we were fired up to win. We started out strong and finished strong.”
Lantagne Welch felt Young’s composure was not surprising for a player with such poise. Grass’ performance impressed everyone involved in the tournament.
“I’m very proud of the way that we came out and defended our home court,” Lantagne Welch said. “We had exceptional play from Jamie Grass…she just pulled us through this tournament.”
Tyson had similar sentiments.
“Jamie is just awesome, there’s no other word for it,” Tyson said. “She definitely gets the job done day in and day out.”
Beginning her junior season, Tyson has a lot to look forward to. She has been a member of the team since the rebirth of UM volleyball in 2001.
“I feel like I’ve stepped up my play and totally become a leader for the young girls,” Tyson said.
With the Wildcat Invitational already in progress, the ‘Canes are keeping on their toes but can’t forget the glory they experienced just days ago.
“It’s amazing to start off the season with an undefeated streak,” Young said. “Keep that going, that’s all we can do.”
Miami began play in Tucson yesterday afternoon against Rhode Island. They face San Diego State and Arizona today, and finish with Santa Clara tomorrow.
Melissa Teich can be reached at melissateich@hotmail.com.