The weekend started off right for the University of Miami volleyball team.
A dramatic come from behind victory Friday night against Wake Forest saw the team playing arguably its best volleyball of the year. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the season schedule brought ACC powerhouse Duke to the Knight Sports Complex on Sunday, where Miami fell in straight sets 3-0.
Regardless of the loss on Sunday, Friday’s victory was impressive for several reasons.
Miami (15-10, 8-7) came out flat in the first set, committing nine unforced errors, giving Wake Forest all of the momentum and control. In the second set it looked as if the Deamon Deacons were on their way to another dominating frame as Miami quickly fell behind 4-13.
But that’s when the Hurricanes went on a 22-11 run, winning the set 26-24 and eventually the game, 3-1, in what was one of the more gutsy performances of the season for head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch’s team.
“That was just unacceptable and embarrassing in the first [set],” said sophomore outside hitter Lane Carico, who racked up a team-high 18 kills in the win. “Everybody changed their mentality and went after it, being aggressive.”
The victory also saw the return of senior outside hitter Genny Mayhew to her home court following a lengthy stint on the bench with a hand injury.
The veteran played admirably in her first substantial playing time since getting hurt, at times wincing in pain from tough digs. She was rewarded for her efforts, not only helping her team win, but receiving a tremendous personal accolade in joining the 1,000 kill club.
“Genny’s only had about a week of practice and she passed wonderful for us tonight and that’s the main role we wanted her to give us,” Lantagne Welch said. “She’s just a leader, a player with a ton of experience…we knew she’d hit [1,000 career kills] this year. Thank goodness the injury didn’t keep her out much longer…she deserved that. She’s a heck of an attacker and she’ll be up in the banners here forever.”
Aside from the personal milestones and the overall inspiring style of play against Wake Forest, it was crucial that Miami came out on top on Friday heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Blue Devils.
“It’s a dogfight in the ACC…you want to win at home and you want to win every one that you can,” Lantagne Welch said. “Getting this comeback victory is big for us.”
The Sunday contest was tough, as expected. Miami fell 25-17, 25-12, 25-18 to the ACC’s second place team.
Miami will head out on the road this upcoming weekend for its next matches. The Hurricanes will first face Georgia Tech, as they will try for the sweep of the season series against the Yellow Jackets on Friday. After that the ‘Canes travel up to South Carolina to face Clemson where they will try to avenge a heartbreaking five-set defeat from earlier this year in a contest at the Knight Sports Complex.
Adam Berger may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.