The women’s volleyball team knew it was not going to be easy to face No. 9 Louisville, and the matchup certainly lived up to its billing. The Hurricanes put forth a tough effort and continued to battle back throughout the entire match, but they came up short when Louisville took its game to another level by winning 3-1 (30-32, 30-28, 30-23, 30-28) in the Orange and Green Tournament at the Knight Sports Complex.
Miami lost all three matches it played in the event.
“We will have confidence from playing a top 10 team,” said Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. Miami came out with a lot of energy and won the first game. The Hurricanes were able to get the crowd into the match from start to finish, and the UM faithful supported the women, even when Miami fell behind later in the contest.
Lantagne Welch said she saw a lot of improvement in the team that played Louisville compared with the team that played Sacramento State in the first match.
“We got better in every match from last night to this morning and from this morning to this evening,” Lantagne Welch said. “We really began to handle the ball a lot better.” Some highlights came from the duo of Francheska Savage and Karla Johnson. The two combined for 39 kills in the match against Louisville.
Johnson continued her distinguished collegiate career by becoming second all-time in kills with 1,037, behind only Valeria Tipiana, who finished with 1,411.
“We rely on [Johnson] so much, and she has shined in that role,”Lantagne Welch said. “She has been a great leader too.”
Johnson added another item to her list of accomplishments: She was the only Miami player to be named to the All-Tournament Team. For the tournament, Johnson had a total of 57 kills.
Ann Gallo was solid throughout the entire three-match tournament, putting together totals for defensive digs of 20, 16 and 19 in the matches against Sacramento State, Michigan State and Lousiville.
Lantagne Welch stayed positive about the three matches over the weekend despite dropping all three. “We competed hard and it came right down to the wire,” Lantagne Welch said. “We were in every game. The only negative is that maybe we could be a little more aggressive.”
The other two matches were tough on Miami. The first contest was against Sacramento State, who won in straight games 3-0. In the second match, UM lost 3-1 to Michigan State.
“There is a good chance that all three teams will be in the NCAA tournament at the end of the year,” Lantagne Welch said. “We will be better for playing in this tournament.” Miami will be back in action on Friday in Boston College at 7 p.m. Denis Brown can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.