Miami volleyball extends unbeaten streak against Weber State, UNLV

Miami's volleyball team coming together after a point during its game against Weber State on Sept. 3.
Miami's volleyball team comes together after a point during its game against Weber State at Cox Pavillion on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

The Hurricane volleyball team has continued its hot start to the 2022 season with a close win against the Weber State Wildcats (4-2) in Las Vegas. After the two teams split the opening sets, Miami put on a dominant performance to close out the match, 3-1.

To start the match, UM scored six straight points to lead, 6-0. This advantage shrank, as Miami committed a string of attack errors.

Weber State then briefly grabbed the lead, 15-14, before UM found their footing once again, winning seven of the next eight points. The ‘Canes did not relinquish the lead, as they closed out the set, 25-21.

Set 2 started virtually the same way, as Miami would jump out to an early lead. The two teams were in a back-and-forth affair, with the pivotal moment happening as the teams were tied at 15 apiece.

A set error by sophomore outside hitter Peyman Yardimici allowed Weber State to go up 16-15 and take the lead for good. The Hurricanes made it close late, as they got within one point, 23-24, but Weber State remained poised, winning the set, 25-23.

With Miami’s straight-set win streak broken, the team played with a new sense of freedom and would blow past the Wildcats in the next two sets.

The third set was full of aces and kills for the ‘Canes, as their lead continued to increase through the course of the set. The Hurricanes won the third set, 25-15, to put the pressure squarely on Weber State to respond.

Still, in the fourth set, Miami was too strong, going on a five-point streak at 16-13 to comfortably win the match, 25-18.

Freshman Flomarie Heredia-Colon had the best match of her young career, as she led the ‘Canes in kills with 15. Yardimici and redshirt junior Angela Grieve followed with 13 and 11 kills, respectively, making a formidable three-headed monster on attack for the ‘Canes. Senior Savannah Vach continued to gather sets at a record pace, notching 32 in this game. Fellow freshman Naylani Feliciano led in digs with 21, followed by Yardimici, who had 14, and Vach, who had 10.

After back-to-back wins to open the tournament, the Hurricanes (6-0) made it a three-peat, as they downed the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (5-1) at Cox Pavillion, 3-2.

Out of the gates, it wasn’t easy for the Hurricanes as they lost the first two sets.

UNLV grabbed the big lead using solid performances from junior Isabel Martin, California native Gabrielle Arretche-Ramos and sophomore Chloe Thomas.

The trio combined for 39 kills and totaled an overwhelming amount of the team’s attacks with 117.

Defensively, UNLV was largely aided by the work of the starting libero, Maya Sands. The freshman from Illinois had 16 digs, by far the most of anyone on her squad. Graduate student and setter Jhenna Gabriel finished with nine digs, the second-most.

After just two-point margins of defeat in each of the first two sets, Miami countered with a 25-21 victory in the third set and a 25-19 win in the fourth.

Battling, UM sent the game to a fifth set. The final play involved Vach assisting Yardmici for the final kill of the game.

As the ball hit UNLV’s side of the court, Miami finished the comeback, winning the set 15-10.

Miami used some great individual performances along the way to close it out in the fifth set.

Yardimci was a force to be reckoned with as she notched a team-high 21 kills. She only built off a 2021 campaign where she made the All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Freshman Team and All-Academic Team.

Alongside her, Grieve collected 10 digs, as did Yardimci. Vach also amounted 11 digs and set up her offense with 54 assists.

Heredia-Colon totaled 17.5 points and a hit percentage of 37.9%, the best of anyone on the team Sunday.

On the defensive end, the Canes created 18 blocks as a team. Senior Janice Leao led the way in this category, as she had five blocks on her own.

By the end of the match, the Hurricanes beat the Rebels 113-102 in total points, 66-53 in kills and had a significantly higher hitting percentage of 27.2% over UNLV’s 21.8%.

Next up, Miami will return to Florida for another road trip. This time they will enter the UCF Invitational and play the Knights, the UIC Flames and UNC Wilmington Seahawks. The tournament will start on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7:00 p.m. and conclude on Sunday.

Patrick McColl also contributed to this story.