Hurricanes split North Carolina trip

The University of Miami volleyball team is going to need some help if they want to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since they switched conferences from the Big East to the ACC.

UM (25-6, 13-6) lost to first place UNC (20-10, 14-5) Thursday night but then rebounded nicely, sweeping North Carolina State (9-25, 3-16) the following night to improve to 10-0 all-time against the Wolfpack.

With one game remaining on the schedule, the Hurricanes are tied in second place with Clemson and Florida State. All three of these teams are one game behind conference leaders UNC and Duke.

With the win, UNC extended its win streak to nine as it defeated the Hurricanes in four sets (25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 25-18). This was a pivotal game because, coming into the match, both teams knew that winning out would clinch an ACC title.

The Tar Heels and the Canes split the season series, as each team held serve at home.

Despite a difficult loss, junior outside hitter Genny Mayhew played extremely well, recording 16 digs and 16 kills. Captain Ashley Woods was the only other Hurricane to tally double digits in kills, as she posted 12. Junior libero Cassie Loessberg was strong defensively, totaling a team high 23 digs.

The difference in the match was hitting percentage, as the Blue and White hit .239 compared to the Orange and Green’s .178.

UM was able to shake off the loss quickly and still keep their heads up, as they shut out the Wolfpack for the second time this year (25-22, 25-15, 25-19) the following night.

With the win, head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch registered the 150th win of her career. She is in her eighth year at the helm of the Canes, and this is her second season with at least 25 wins.

Freshman phenom Lane Carico recorded her 15th double-double of the year, as she finished with 13 kills and 12 digs against NC State. Senior middle blocker Angelica Ellis accumulated 10 kills to accompany three digs.

Miami’s final match of the season is against instate rival Florida State (21-8, 13-6) in Tallahassee at 2 p.m. Both teams have identical conference records, and Miami defeated Florida State in September in four sets.

In order for the Hurricanes to clinch the conference and grab an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, Miami will be looking for UNC, Duke and Clemson to fall in their final matches of the season, and the Canes will have to go in and take care of business in Tallahassee.