Miami volleyball sweeps Niagara to stay undefeated

Hurricane Volleyball players celebrate after securing a point during the fourth set in Miami’s 3-1 victory over Florida State on Wednesday Oct 6 at the Knight Complex in Coral Gables Florida
Hurricane Volleyball players celebrate after securing a point during the fourth set in Miami’s 3-1 victory over Florida State on Wednesday Oct 6 at the Knight Complex in Coral Gables Florida Photo credit: Josh Halper

Miami volleyball has opened the season with three consecutive sweeps for the third time in program history.

After defeating Bryant and Hofstra on Friday, the ‘Canes closed out the Hofstra Invitational in Hempstead, N.Y., with a dominant 3-0 victory against Niagara on Saturday afternoon. Miami outscored the Purple Eagles 75-33 in the match.

“Today was another opportunity for our young players to continue to learn how to prepare for matches, establish our routines, and get more familiar with the game plans,” head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said.

“We were able to work on some areas of our game and getting to see everyone compete is always nice,” Gandara continued. “We’ll never apologize for winning.”

Sophomore Peyman Yardimci led Miami with a game-high eight kills, as the ‘Canes had their best offensive performance of the year against the Purple Eagles, boasting a .405 hitting percentage in the match. Freshman Flormarie Heredia Colon, a native of the Dominican Republic, helped Yardimci lead the offensive charge with seven kills of her own, along with one ace.

The Hurricanes jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first set with the help of Naylani Feliciano’s pair of service aces. She finished with three on the day, a team high. From there, Miami didn’t let up, as it cruised to a 25-7 opening set win.

The ‘Canes began the second set with another run, scoring seven quick unanswered points. Miami tallied an astounding 15 kills, 15 digs and 15 assists en route to a 25-13 victory.

Up 2-0, the Hurricanes posted their highest hitting percentage of the day, at .440, to complete the sweep and down Niagara, 25-13, in the third set.

While Miami’s rising stars led the way on Saturday, the veterans heavily contributed, too. Senior, and 2021 All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) First Team honoree, Savannah Vach recorded a team-high 28 assists, and senior Janice Leao paced the Hurricanes on the defensive end with four blocks.

“I thought it was a good weekend, all in all, not only because of what we were able to do, but also because of all we learned about ourselves and our players,” Gandara said.

With young talent and established veterans, the Hurricanes’ potential is high. In the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) preseason poll, Miami finished just outside the Top 25 with 101 votes – the second most among teams that missed the rankings. This weekend certainly boosted its stock.

Next up, the ‘Canes face St. John’s on Friday at 2:00 p.m. in the first of their three matches at the Rebel Challenge in Las Vegas.