Setting the bar high for upcoming season

Freshman Taylor Hollins playing during the Nike Invitational Tournament at Oklahoma University. Courtesy Ty Russell

The University of Miami volleyball team kicked off its regular season in winning fashion, taking two out of three matches while participating in the Nike Invitational in Norman, Okla. this past weekend.

The two victories, however, weren’t easy to come by as both came down to the wire. The Hurricanes needed all five sets to beat both UT-Arlington and Wichita State, respectively.

Miami wasn’t nearly as successful against Oklahoma, falling in four sets to the Sooners on Saturday night.

Nevertheless, it was an exciting first weekend of play, with the first contest providing some serious drama.

Heading into the third set, Miami found itself down 2-0 to UT-Arlington, losing each frame by scores of 25-21 and 25-22 respectively.

In serious danger of dropping their opening match of the season, the Canes rallied, overcoming the large deficit on their way to an improbable five-set victory.

Miami won the final three frames with relative ease, topping the Mavericks 25-13, 25-20 and 15-9.

Its second match against Wichita State was much more of a back-and-forth affair. Neither team was able to put together consecutive set wins through the first four frames.

In the end it was Miami who came out on top, beating the Shockers in the tug-of-war battle with set scores of 19-25, 25-17, 19-25, 25-22 and 15-10.

Against Oklahoma in the final match of the weekend, Miami found itself in a familiar spot down 2-0 heading into the third set.

The Canes were able to win the third frame just as they did against UT-Arlington. History did not repeat itself, however, and the comeback stopped there. Miami lost the deciding fourth set 25-19 giving Oklahoma the victory.

Both the Canes and the Sooners walked away with records of 2-1 to open up the year.

Despite losing several talented players to graduation, Miami received solid play from upperclassmen during the entire Nike Invitational.

Senior middle blocker Ariell Cooke shined over the weekend, tying her career high for kills with 14 against both UT-Arlington and Wichita State. Her third match stat line against Oklahoma wasn’t too shabby either. Cooke nabbed six kills and came away with a career-high seven blocks against Oklahoma.

The always-consistent Lane Carico showed no signs of rust from a long off-season. The junior outside hitter recorded a double-double in all three of Miami’s matches, giving her seven consecutive double-doubles dating back to last season. Carico now has 39 for her career.

Miami will play its first home contest Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Florida Atlantic. The match will take place at the Knight Sports Complex and can be heard on 90.5 WVUM.

Adam Berger at