Despite early lead, Hurricanes drop match to Notre Dame Fighting Irish 3-2

Photo credit: Zach Grissom

At one moment, it looked like the Miami Hurricanes were going to dominate their way to a sweep. Several moments later, they found themselves on the losing end of a competitive fight.

That’s just how sports are sometimes.

Despite winning the first two sets, the Canes saw their momentum fizzle out as they fell to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 3-2 Oct. 22 at Knight Sports Complex. The loss snapped Miami’s three-game winning streak.

The Hurricanes (12-4, 6-4 ACC) came out hot with 25-23 and 25-19 victories, even reaching a team hitting percentage of .607 and a game-high 17 kills in the second set.

But they couldn’t find much consistency afterward. The Fighting Irish (16-5, 6-4 ACC) won the next three sets 25-13, 25-21 and 15-13.

“It comes down to serving errors and passing,” coach Jose Gandara said. “We missed too many serves in the game. Otherwise, our defense looks good, and we didn’t make a lot of hitting errors.”

Despite the loss, Miami got great performances from outside hitters Kolby Bird and Olga Strantzali, and setter Haley Templeton.

Bird had a season-high 21 kills and an ace in the Sunday afternoon matchup. Strantzali added 15 kills, three aces and a season-high six assists. Templeton led the team with 50 assists and recorded a hitting percentage of .300.

Gandara liked UM’s approach to the matchup and wants to use these positive takeaways as the team continues conference play.

“We need to watch film, but I think we are on the right path and I think this match gives meaning to what we are doing and what we are working on,” he said.

This was the second match of a five-game home stand, and the Hurricanes are excited for the opportunity.

“It’s amazing to play at home,” said Bird, who is a junior. “It’s so awesome. We have so many fans that support us and even today was amazing. The energy in here is just so great.”

Miami looks to use that energy to its advantage over the next couple of weeks, starting with its matchup against North Carolina State at 7 p.m. Oct. 27.