Volleyball sweeps Florida State

It seems that Miami has Florida State’s number in sports this year. First, it was the football team with its unbelievable victory a few weeks ago. On Friday, the volleyball team destroyed the Seminoles in three games at the Knight Sports Complex.

Playing in their first ever ACC match, the ‘Canes didn’t look like a team that was picked as an underdog in their initial home match of the year. They were able to dominate Florida State in just about every aspect of the match.

Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch agreed that the victory wasn’t a bad way to start off play in the ACC.

“That was a great start to conference play for us,” Welch said. “I knew they would come in pumped up to play Florida State, and it showed with the way that we were able to execute.”

Everyone chipped in for Miami on a night where it defeated the Seminoles 30-28, 31-29, and 30-24 in front of a crowd of 788. Senior Valeria Tipiana led the Hurricanes with 22 kills, while sophomore Jill Robinson added 53 assists. The all-around production was critical to the ‘Canes winning their third straight match.

With the victory, Miami and Florida State have traded wins with each other the last four times they have met. In game one, the Hurricanes dominated in the early going with kills from Tipiana and junior Karla Johnson, as well as a block from red-shirt freshman Ciara Michel. The ‘Noles were able to make a game out of it and draw close, but the Hurricanes finally put them away with another Tipiana kill.

Game two proved to be a lot more competitive as Florida State led throughout, only to see Miami tie the score at 25. The Seminoles then had a game point opportunity after they reeled off four straight to take a 29-26 lead. But with the help of a self destructing Florida State offense, the ‘Canes were able to take five straight points and the second game 31-29.

In the third game, the Hurricanes were able to control the tempo once again and hold their rival to a .132 hitting percentage, as they won the game decisively, 30-24. Besides the excellent blocking up front, Miami was able to tally 50 digs, including a season high 22 for senior Jamie Grass.

After being swept last season in Tallahassee, Welch never thought the team would be able to do the same against the Seminoles, especially considering how competitive the ACC is.

“In this stage in the ACC, you never think you are going to sweep three games,” Welch said. “I was very pleasantly surprised to take the first three against a quality team like Florida State.”

After a couple of road matches this week, Miami returns home Friday night to take on the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest. Welch said she feels the team will still be riding on the Florida State high.

“This win gives us confidence and we’re excited to defeat a team who was picked to finish ahead of us in the standings,” Welch said. “We have one ACC team down, and now we can look forward to the next opponent.”

Douglas Kroll can be contacted at d.kroll@umiami.edu.