Volleyball team cruises at CenturyTel Premier Tournament

After playing four matches in less than 24 hours, the University of Miami volleyball team was exhausted, but they were excited. The Hurricanes defeated Sacramento State, Texas State, the University of Texas-Pan American and the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and they swept all but one team at the CenturyTel Premier Tournament in San Marcos, Texas.

Junior outside-hitter Genny Mayhew was named tournament MVP. Mayhew recorded two double-doubles in kills and digs and led the team in points, averaging just under 12 per match.

Junior libero Cassie Loessberg and sophomore sensation Katie Gallagher were named to the All-Tournament Team. Loessberg averaged more than 16 digs per match, while Gallagher averaged more than 24 assists per match.

The Canes opened up the tournament sweeping an experienced Sacramento State team that advanced to the second round of last year’s NCAA tournament.

Freshmen outside-hitter Lane Carico and Texas native Ali Becker were impressive, accounting for over 40 percent of the team’s 55 points. The team fed off the energy and athleticism of the two freshmen.

UM got off to a slow start in match two against tournament host Texas Sate, dropping the first set 25-13.

But Miami rallied back, winning the next three sets by a combined 17 points. Loessberg led the way with 20 digs and Gallagher continued to orchestrate the offense, as she recorded 29 assists.

“We really turned things around after the first game,” head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. “We showed major confidence and composure after having it handed to us at first.”

The Hurricanes carried their momentum from Friday right into Saturday morning, as they ended the first set against University of Texas-Pan American on a 10-0 run and won the next two sets to complete the sweep. Texas native and redshirt senior Ashley Woods led the team in kills, blocks and points.

The Canes capped off their extraordinary weekend by crushing the University of Louisiana at Monroe. UM had 10 blocks compared to the Warhawks’ one, and UM only committed six errors, while the Warhawks’ had 22.

Senior outside-hitter Bridget Bomhack had a well-balanced match, totaling 11 kills, three digs, three kills and two blocks.

The Hurricanes look to have another strong outing at their home opener Thursday at the Knight Sports Complex against South Dakota State. That game, which begins at 6 p.m., can be heard on the University of Miami’s student radio station, WVUM 90.5 FM.