The Miami Spring Tournament on Saturday marked the first time the volleyball team has competed since it traveled to Gainesville for the Florida Spring Tournament on March 25.
Miami played three matches in a round-robin format against invited guests Florida Atlantic, Barry University and the University of North Florida.
While the event gave the four teams playing a chance to work with their new rotations for next fall, the tournament was free-spirited without awards or an all-tournament team, unlike the Hurricane Invitational and the Orange and Green Challenge that take place during the season.
The Hurricanes were playing without setter Jill Robinson, who had surgery done on her right shoulder. Robinson is out for four to six months and will have her sling removed this week. With Robinson out, true freshman Bridget Bomhack took over the setter duties, one of several changes in Miami’s rotation to fill vacancies caused by graduating seniors.
Francheska Savage played in the outside hitter position, replacing Karla Johnson. Savage has been a middle blocker since her first season with Miami in 2003. The other outside hitter was Sara Duncan, and freshman Lindsay Fletcher also saw some action.
Ciara Michel and Angelica Ellis both played at the middle blocker spot. Red shirt Freshman Ashley Woods and true freshman Lauren Rinderknecht were the opposite hitters.
Ann Gallo played libero for the Hurricanes, and is now the only defensive specialist on the roster, with Kaitlin Kozak graduating in May.
Miami defeated Barry University for the third time this spring after beating them twice in Gainesville at the UF tournament. The ‘Canes battled in the third game with the match tied at one game apiece before cruising through the fourth to win 3-1.
At the same time as the Miami-Barry match, Atlantic Sun conference foes North Florida faced FAU in the winners’ bracket. The Ospreys downed FAU 3-1 to go undefeated in the tournament. In the final game, North Florida fell behind early, struggling to find an answer to the attack by FAU’s Iana Andonova, a senior middle blocker who led the Sun Belt Conference in hitting percentage, kills, kills per game and points per game.
FAU decided to play Andonova although she will be graduating at the end of the semester. The other three teams went with lineups reflecting next year’s changes in their rosters.
Miami will conclude its off-season tournament schedule with another event similar to Saturday’s round robin at the Central Florida Spring Tournament in Orlando this weekend.
Rodolfo Tomarchio can be contacted at email@example.com