The Hurricanes rolled to their fourth victory at the Knight Sports Complex Friday, improving their home record to 4-1 as they swept N.C. State 3-0.
Two Miami players finished with double-digit kills and the ‘Canes had a .237 hitting percentage against the best blocking team in the ACC. N.C. State was averaging 3.18 blocks per game entering the match-up.
The Wolfpack’s blocking was present throughout most of the match, with the bulk of its blocks coming in game three. N.C. State finished with 11 blocks while Miami finished with six.
The Hurricanes, on the other hand, boast a couple of weapons as well, as senior Valeria Tipiana continues to lead all players in the ACC after Friday’s match with her 39th ace of the season. Tipiana also tallied nine kills on 20 attempts. Senior Mallorey James and junior Karla Johnson added two aces to raise Miami’s ace count to 96.
For the spectators in attendance, concern might have spread for two Miami players. Sophomore setter Jill Robinson had a wrap on her right shoulder for most of the match while defensive specialist Ann Gallo, also a sophomore, had a wrap on her left thigh.
“Jill has been a little sore lately. Both are just minor things just to tape up before the match as a preventative measure,” Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said.
Robinson still had a very productive night with 42 assists, two kills and six digs. For the third straight match, senior outside hitter Ashley Youngs had double-digit kills with 12.
“Most of my kills came off of tools,” Youngs said. “The coaches were telling us to use their blocking to our advantage.”
The phrase “tool a block” describes when a hitter spikes into the block and uses the deflection to redirect the ball out of bounds.
Game one saw Miami pull ahead with a lead before taking it 30-21 with sophomore Sara Duncan getting some playing time at the outside hitter spot.
In game two, Duncan again got playing time and had a dig. Five Miami errors in the game brought the Wolfpack within four points.
On Miami’s game point, two straight N.C. State blocks and a couple of hitting errors had the Wolfpack knocking on the door again. However, Johnson put game two away with a kill down the line.
Game three saw N.C. State play energized and with an early lead. Momentum swung Miami’s way in the closing stages of the game and an eight-point run gave the ‘Canes an insurmountable lead.
“Once again we found the weak passer tonight and tried to break her down,” Youngs said.
The Wolfpack would side-out on Miami’s first match point and regain possession. Victory came off an N.C. State service error the net.
On Sunday the Hurricanes bested North Carolina in four games to improve to 10-6 (5-3). Karla Johnson led the team with 23 kills.
The team returns to action Wednesday against Florida State.
Rodolfo Tomarchio can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org