Journey and new season begins for volleyball team


TANYA THOMPSON // The Miami Hurricane

The University of Miami volleyball team finally received the recognition that they deserved. After being predicted to finish ninth in the ACC Preseason Polls last year, Miami has been tabbed the No. 3 team in the ACC this year.

Three Canes were also selected to the Preseason All-ACC Team. Senior outside hitter Genny Mayhew makes the team for the second consecutive year while senior libero Cassie Loessberg and sophomore outside hitter Lane Carico receive preseason accolades for the first time.

“It’s great to see our three players recognized,” ninth-year head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. “I know how much they have done. We have a lot of the core of the team back which is critical for success and we have veteran experience. We also have a lot of young players that are also willing to step up so it’s a great mix all the way.”

While Mayhew and Carico are a dynamic duo, Loessberg is the unsung hero and the defensive specialist. She is known for her tremendous hustle and determination to prolong plays. Loessberg needs just 189 digs to eclipse the all-time record at UM for most digs in a career.

“The award is on my mine but team success is more important,” the Sacramento native said. “As long as I am doing my job and the team is winning, everything will take care of itself.”

The Hurricanes biggest asset is team chemistry and with the nucleus of the team returning, the strong cohesive bond should propel the Canes to numerous victories.

“We have a special group,” Lantagne Welch said. “We have a strong culture and great team chemistry. The conference is going to be very strong with a lot of great teams. It’s going to come down to the final few games at the end of the season.”

The Canes endured their best season in years last year and look to carry that momentum over to this year. UM had a 12 game turnaround in wins and ended last year with the best single season ACC record in school history (14-6).

Although the Canes had tremendous success, they failed to make the NCAA Tournament, missing out by one game.

“We are a very motivated team considering what happened last year with the NCAA Tournament committee,” Mayhew said. “We have a really special team and we put ourselves on the map. We have a winning culture and we are going to do everything we can to succeed and get to the next level.”

The first match is Friday at 6:00 p.m. against Florida Gulf Coast at the Knight Sports Complex. The game can be heard on 90.5 FM, the student radio station at the University of Miami.

August 23, 2009


Justin Antweil

Senior Sports Writer

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