Volleyball splits weekend among ACC opponents

Miami Volleyball, coming off a big victory last Sunday against a formidable opponent in Maryland, split their weekend road schedule, falling to Clemson 1-3, then coming back and defeating Georgia Tech 3-1.

The ‘Canes left Coral Gables and arrived at Jervey Gymnasium Friday evening to take on the Clemson Tigers. Miami took the first game of their match against the Tigers 40-38, which marks the most points the ‘Canes have scored in a single game all season.

Game two was quite a struggle for the ‘Canes, who allowed the Tigers to take large leads, which proved insurmountable. The story seemed to repeat itself in games three and four, with Clemson taking the match.

Senior setter Jill Robinson led the ‘Canes with a season-high 57 assists and also contributed 14 digs, giving Robinson her fifth double-double this year. Junior middle blocker Ciara Michel also had a career high 22 kills.

Seeking to avenge the loss, the ‘Canes traveled south and took on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in O’Keefe Gymnasium on Saturday night.

Game one was much of the same for the ‘Canes, falling behind 17-8 at one point and allowing the Yellow Jackets to take the early lead, 1-0. However, the ‘Canes were determined not to face the same fate, and did so in resounding fashion.

In game two, Georgia Tech never had the lead and managed a tie at 3-3. Miami then won eight straight points and never looked back, winning 30-21.

Games three and four were much more competitive, but Georgia Tech could muster no serious challenge, and the Hurricanes left Atlanta with an important victory, 3-1.

“I feel pretty good right now, we displayed a great match to beat Georgia Tech,” Head Coach Nicole Lantagne-Welch said. “All the things that we had struggled [with] on the night before we corrected, and that was our strength today. We were outstanding in our passing and defense, and that helped us to victory.”

Michel led the team in kills Saturday night with 18, with Robinson contributing 55 assists. Defensive specialists Casilia Loessberg and Ann Gallo provided 16 and 15 digs respectively.

“Michel’s just putting the ball away, and definitely finding ways to score,” Lantagne Welch said. “And our defensive crew of Casilia Loessberg, Ann Gallo and Michelle Bruin made the biggest changes in the best direction.”

The ‘Canes will now look to the upcoming weekend, where they will return to the Knight Sports Complex to face N.C. State on Friday and North Carolina on Sunday. N.C.

State stands 2-11 for the season and 0-5 in the ACC. North Carolina is currently 3-11 overall and 1-4 in conference play.

When asked what the ‘Canes needed for their upcoming weekend matches, Lantagne-Welch knew exactly what her team needed to focus on.

“Consistency will be out biggest issue,” she said. “I hope that we can just steady out and play solid back to back matches. That will be huge for us, this coming weekend at home.”

Matthew Bunch may be contacted at m.bunch@umiami.edu.