Both the men’s and women’s teams were in action this weekend in Blacksburg, Virginia for the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational. The women were led by freshman Jessica Mitchell, running a time of 21:01:08 in the six-kilometer race. Her finish was seventh-best individual in the field of 65 athletes. Junior Emma Langlois and sophomores Lauren Schiffenhaus and Alison Johnson made up the rest of the slate for the women, all finishing with times under 30 minutes. The Miami women finished fourth overall among the eight schools present.
On the men’s side, junior Dylan Sykes led with a team best 26:16.5 time on the eight-kilometer course. Freshman Andrew Madden was the next Cane to cross the finish line, following less than 20 seconds behind Sykes. UM finished in sixth overall as a team.
“I think this was a really great starting point for us,” assistant coach Cody Halsey told HurricaneSports.com. “For most of these athletes, this was the first time they’ve even ran that distance. I think they understand we have some work to do, but they are ready to put in the work and are up for this challenge.”
Both teams are back in action on Oct. 11 at the FSU Invitational in Tallahassee.
Miami was up in Orlando for the annual Sunshine State Challenge, winning two of three games. On Friday morning, the team dropped its opener to Florida Gulf Coast 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-23) as the Canes failed to get their hitting percentage above .111 during the match.
A trio of freshmen led UM in each of the major statistical categories, with Kennedy Price earning 11 kills, Janice Leao blocking five opposing kill attempts, Savannah Vach recording 28 assists and Amanda Falck getting nine digs. The Hurricanes rebounded Friday evening to win 3-2 (25-15, 25-15, 25-27, 12-25, 16-14) in nail biting fashion, with the help of a combined effort from both rookies and veterans. Junior Elizaveta Lukianova led with both 11 kills and five blocks, while Vach registered 45 assists. Price also added a double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs.
A 3-2 win (25-22, 25-18, 18-25, 23-25, 15-11) over host UCF on Saturday gave UM a winning weekend while boosting its overall record to 4-4. Price earned a second double-double by way of 15 kills and 12 digs, while Vach added another 58 assists to her total. Junior Janet Kalaniuavalu, a transfer from Southern Utah, added her name in the final box with an impressive team-high 17 kills.
“There is some confidence to gain from winning,” associate head coach Kasey Crider told HurricaneSports.com after the tournament. “I hope the majority of confidence comes from beating two high-quality opponents. UCF and FAU are no joke, and we passed better than we have been, and we were a little more connected to the plan than we have been.”
UM begins ACC play on Sept. 27 at Wake Forest.
The Hurricanes fell 2-0 at Virginia Tech to open ACC play, giving up a goal in each half as their overall record sank to 3-3-1. Miami was only able to muster three shots on target throughout the 90-minute match, compared to the six on-target shots fired by the Hokies.
“You are going to have a hard time beating anyone in this conference until you’re composed enough to win the ball and keep it, especially under low or no pressure,” coach Sarah Barnes said to HurricaneSports.com. “That is the number one thing that has to change.” Miami plays next on Thursday when they travel to Boston College.
The men’s tennis team was split between two tournaments over the weekend, the Farnsworth Ivy-Plus at Princeton University in New Jersey and the the University of South Carolina’s Gamecock Fall Invitational in Columbia, South Carolina. Two UM doubles teams and a Hurricane singles player each made it to their bracket’s championship matches.
However, each of the finalists— Bojan Jankulovski and Dane Dunlap, Franco Aubone and Francisco Bastias and singles player Adria Soriano Barrera—were unsuccessful in their final matches. Soriano Barrera and doubles partner Benjamin Hannestad were able prevail in the consolation bracket, winning the extended set by an 8-4 score. Jankulovski and Aubone also got to consolation finals in singles.
The team’s next competition will take place this weekend at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships at the University of Georgia.
The women’s team was also split between two competitions, with sophomore Daevenia Achong and freshman Selma Cadar traveling to the Milwaukee Tennis Classic, while the rest of the team stayed home to take part in the weather disrupted Miami Fall Invite.
Achong lost in the championship match 6-7 (5-7), 4-6 against USC’s Angela Kulikov on Monday. Meanwhile, Cadar fell in a three-set semifinal to Kulikov, preventing an all-Hurricane final. Due to inclement weather Saturday, the tournament at UM’s Neil Schiff Tennis Center could not produce any bracket winners. Matches played outside of draws on Sunday put a cap to a largely successful weekend for UM players, with defending national champion Estela Perez-Somarriba prevailing 6-4, 6-2 over FAU’s Natalia Boltinskaya. Teammate and fellow Spaniard Lucia Marzal took down LSU’s Luba Vasilyuk, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, while Marzel and her doubles partner beat Whitney Hekking and Madison Tattini of Utah 7-5.
While freshman Nada Dimovska fell in straight sets in her Sunday match. The women’s team went a combined 22-5 in individual matches across both tournaments over the weekend.
“I think, overall, the girls had a good start to the season. I think we saw some good things,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews told HurricaneSports.com. “We still have to work on staying offensive and moving up in the court, taking our chances.”
The Women are next in action at the ITA Hall of Fame Classic in Williamsburg, Virginia, from Sept. 27-29.