‘Canes sweep B.C. Eagles

The Hurricanes eased their way to a 3-0 victory Sunday over Big East rival Boston College at the Knight Sports Complex. Miami (13-4, 3-0) extends its home win streak to seven games, remaining undefeated in Coral Gables this season.

Junior outside hitter Valeria Tipiana had a team-high 15 kills, including four assists. Senior outside hitter Leyre Santaella Sante followed with 13 kills and one service ace. Freshman setter Jill Robinson picked up 43 assists and 11 digs on the day, adding a service ace. Sophomore middle blocker Robin Lewullis led with seven blocks and added eight kills to the offense.

“We had great offensive performances from everyone, especially Val [Tipiana],” said Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch.

In the first game, Santaella Sante led with five kills. Freshman setter Jill Robinson managed 13 assists and five digs. The ‘Canes started off strong, cruising past the Eagles. Two Santaella Sante kills opened up the offense, and a Tipiana and Karla Johnson block improved the score to 5-1. A pair of nail-biting rallies both ended in favor of the Hurricanes, including an out-of-bounds save made by junior outside hitter Ashley Youngs. It was all smiles and laughter in the huddles between points as the ‘Canes allowed themselves to relax without being any less aggressive. The celebration seemed to help their momentum rise over the hump of four services errors. A BC net violation froze the Eagles at 16 for a lengthy period, allowing Miami to finish the job 30-17.

“The game plan was to execute everything we did in practice,” said Santaella Sante. “It was totally a team effort.”

The Miami side looked like quite a different team during the beginning of game two. They played sloppily in the beginning, getting off to a 0-2 start. They later rallied to catch up and tie the score at 15. Their initial struggle was visible in their demeanor, pumped-up attitudes quickly fading. Tipiana helped along the slow comeback, giving the ‘Canes their first lead of the game at 18-17. They bounced back and forth between stellar shots and ruts where returning the ball seemed impossible. They were able to pull through thanks to a Tipiana kill that set up the game-winning Lewullis-Tyson block (30-27).

Game three brought another slow start for UM, as the excitement in the huddles gave way to solemn strategy-talking. A kill and a pair of blocks from Lewullis gave the ‘Canes a comfortable lead of 22-17 as it became all smiles on the bench during the following time-out. A Tyson kill seemed to wake the crowd out of a slumber to its feet. The Eagles couldn’t make it out of the hold Miami had, hitting the last shot of the match out-of-bounds. Miami finished 30-19.

Although the kills were pivotal to the win, “It started at the net,” said Lantagne Welch. “Robin [Lewullis] had some incredible blocks.”

Preparation was key in the victory over BC, who fell to Pittsburgh on September 28 but defeated both West Virginia and Virginia Tech. Miami is set to play all three of these Big East teams later in the season.

“We tried to do some things to help execute [what we saw from BC’s tape],” said Lantagne Welch.

Santaella Sante is sure the team is determined to keep their streak alive, in hopes of being crowned Big East Champions.

“We know we can do the job,” she said. “We have done a pretty good job of getting over the mistakes and getting back in the game.”

The ‘Canes continue Big East play as they host Georgetown Friday at 7 and Villanova Sunday at 2 in the Knight Sports Complex.

Melissa Teich can be reached at melissateich@hotmail.com.