Heartbreaker against Clemson leads to 1-1 weekend

With the regular season winding down, the University of Miami women’s volleyball team went into the weekend looking to accomplish a couple of goals: putting its struggles against Georgia Tech in the rearview mirror and extending its winning streak to a season-long 10 games.

Miami (24-4, 15-4) achieved one of the two in beating Georgia Tech for the first time in its last four attempts by a score of 3-2, but failed to take its winning streak into double digits. The Hurricanes lost to Clemson on Saturday night 3-2, a team that they beat earlier in the year 3-0.

On Friday, Miami had a dominating performance by senior middle blocker Ali Becker to sneak past the Ramblin’ Wreck in Atlanta. Becker recorded 19 kills in the victory and Miami won by set scores of 22-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-15 and 15-11.

The Hurricanes came from behind despite allowing Georgia Tech outside hitter Monique Meade to find the hardwood for 24 kills.

Meade has historically been a thorn in Miami’s side, especially during the last couple of seasons, but Miami used momentum from a dominating fourth set to quell the Ramblin’ Wreck’s potent offense in the fifth and deciding frame.

So after avenging a mid-season loss to Georgia Tech, Miami traveled to South Carolina to play a Clemson squad that couldn’t hold its own against the Hurricanes earlier in the year.

But as it turned out things were different in the second go-round of the matchup. On Saturday night, the Tigers came out to play.

Miami and Clemson battled it out in a back-and-forth contest, but it was the Hurricanes that came up short in the match. Miami led the match at one point 2-1, but lost the final two sets 25-23 and 15-10.

Becker and senior outside hitter Lane Carico were relatively quiet in the loss. Carico had a team-high 13 kills and Becker failed to reach double digits in the offensive category, only hitting for nine kills one night after recording 19.

On the other side of the court, Clemson benefited from two players reaching the 20 kill mark. Sandra Adeleye recorded 27 kills in the victory while her teammate Serenat Yaz added 20 of her own.
Miami now finds itself in serious danger of losing two matches in a row after losing only four matches the entire year.

The Hurricanes will play their final match of the 2011 regular season the Saturday following Thanksgiving, taking on in-state rival Florida State at the Knight Sports Complex.

The last time the two teams met it was in a primetime contest that aired on ESPN-U. The Hurricanes were swept in straight sets and lost 3-0 to the Seminoles. Miami will look to put together a solid match before presumably competing in its third consecutive NCAA tournament in the beginning of December.