Can’t wait for Miami Sports? Here are some of the most exciting Hurricane athletes to watch this fall

Though currently in the dog days of summer, the fall semester is quickly approaching and with it brings the beginning of the 2022 sports season for football, volleyball and soccer.

With another season of Hurricane athletics comes another year jam packed with mind-blowing, jump-out-of-your-seat-and-run-around moments; fans packing Hard Rock Stadium and blowing the roof off the place with fire extinguishers; everyone throwing up “the U” and students saving cats from their impending doom.

Maybe that last part was just a one-time thing, but this season will be full of excitement thanks to our Hurricane athletes.

Without further ado, here are some of the most exciting Hurricanes to watch this fall:

Tyler Van Dyke – Football

Third-year sophomore Tyler Van Dyke throws the ball during Miami’s home game against Virginia on Sept. 30, 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Third-year sophomore Tyler Van Dyke throws the ball during Miami’s home game against Virginia on Sept. 30, 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Was there ever a doubt? After a breakout 2021 campaign in which sophomore Tyler Van Dyke took over the starting quarterback role when D’Eriq King underwent season-ending shoulder surgery, the projected first-round National Football League (NFL) draft pick is ready to lead Mario Cristobal’s offense.

In his nine starts last season, Van Dyke threw for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns, going 6-3, which included a statement win over No. 13 Pittsburgh on the road. His 6-foot-4-inch, 224-pound frame makes him a force to be reckoned with, and under his leadership, the Canes featured an explosive passing offense that finished third in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

Now, the 2021 ACC Rookie of the Year is ready to take the next step.

“I think it all starts with a great offseason, just coming together, working as hard as we can to keep that connection strong that helped us through this year,” Van Dyke said in an article on miamihurricane.com. “A good offseason, go on to next year playing hard and I feel like we have a bright future as a team.”

Savannah Vach – Volleyball

Junior setter Savannah Vach dives to save a point during Miami’s win over FSU on Wednesday Oct. 6 at the Knight Complex in Coral Gables.
Junior setter Savannah Vach dives to save a point during Miami’s win over FSU on Wednesday Oct. 6 at the Knight Complex in Coral Gables. Photo credit: Josh Halper

The Miami Hurricanes volleyball team had a strong 2021 campaign, posting their first 25-win season since 2012. And Savannah Vach, an All-ACC First Team honoree, was at the center of it all.

The setter from Winter Springs, Fla., was one of two Canes to start all 30 matches last fall and led Miami with 1,142 assists. Vach, a rising senior, just keeps getting better and better. She recorded a career-high 46 kills and 51 blocks her junior year.

Vach was also one of 24 players in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to register a triple-double in 2021, which she did against UCF — notching 16 kills, 28 assists and 11 digs.

The Hurricanes, ranked No. 24, fell to the sixteenth-seeded Florida Gators in the second round of the NCAA tournament last December but are looking to build on the momentum established last year in the upcoming season.

“Just, as a whole, we’ve been even more connected than ever before this year, on and off the court,” Vach said in a press conference after the loss. “So, I think that this team deserves everything, whether it’s in volleyball or whether it’s in life. They’re all wonderful people here, so I’m excited to see how we can do next year.”

With several players returning this fall, like 2021 All-ACC Second Team standouts Angela Grieve and Janice Leao, the Hurricanes look poised for a stellar 2022 campaign.

Melissa Dagenais – Soccer

Junior goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais does a goal kick during the first half of the Canes’ match versus USF at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 12, 2021.
Junior goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais does a goal kick during the first half of the Canes’ match versus USF at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 12, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

With 13 seconds remaining in the Hurricanes’ road match against Boston College, goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais was about to take a free kick. In the 90 minutes leading up to it, she had been spectacular, recording eight saves to keep the score tied at zero. In the net, the Quebec native had nothing else to prove, so she turned to offense.

From Miami’s side of the field, Dagenais launched a ball right into the Eagles’ box, which, after a few ricochets, eventually found Jackie Koerwitz for the game-winning goal. The victory marked the Hurricanes’ first ever win over Boston College on the road and Dagenais was named the Co-Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in 2021.

That’s what makes Dagenais so special – her ability to do it all.

Returning for her senior season, she’s looking to improve on a tremendous 2021 campaign. Last fall, Dagenais started all 16 matches and posted four shutouts in goal. She also finished second in the ACC in saves and saver per-game, recording a season-high 14 stops against No. 1 Florida, which is tied for the second-most in a match in program history.

Fans are looking for Dagenais to bring that momentum into 2022 and finish her Hurricanes’ career strong.