Miami drops first match of the season against UIC

Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Angela Grieve spikes the ball during the Canes’ game versus UMBC in the Knight Sports Complex on Aug. 29, 2021.
Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Angela Grieve spikes the ball during the Canes’ game versus UMBC in the Knight Sports Complex on Aug. 29, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

The University of Miami women’s volleyball team suffered its first defeat of the season, 3-1, on Friday night to the University of Illinois Chicago Flames at the UCF Invitational in Orlando, Florida. The Hurricanes played the Flames close throughout the night, but the UIC offense proved to be too strong.

Despite the loss, setter Savannah Vach excelled, recording her fourth double-double of the year with a season-high 15 digs and 39 assists.

To start the match, Miami (6-1) had its way, dominating the early parts of the first set as it gained a 16-10 advantage. However, the Flames (5-1) surged their way back, winning nine of the next ten points to grab a 19-17 lead. From there, the teams would be deadlocked, trading points past the 25-all mark. UIC would claim the thrilling opening set, 30-28, off an ace.

With momentum on their side, the Flames would control the tide of the second set. They held the edge for much of the contest, but Miami clawed its way back to take a 22-21 lead. The ‘Canes would lose the next four points in heartbreaking fashion, though, to drop the second set 25-22.

With the threat of getting swept a real possibility, the Hurricanes buckled down and put on a dominant performance in the third set. UM would extend its lead to nine points multiple times during the frame and finish commandingly, 25-16, to force a fourth set.

As the fourth set commenced, it became apparent that the Flames were giving it all they had. Not threatened by the Hurricanes reputation, UIC would put up a gutsy performance full of kills and aces. Going punch for punch with the ‘Canes, the set remained within reach for both teams until the Flames put the hammer down at 18-16. They took the final seven points, handing the Hurricanes their first loss of the season with authority.

The Flames edged UM in nearly every major category, accruing more kills, aces, assists and digs. The Hurricanes only had a narrow 13-12 advantage in blocks.

Next, Miami will look to right the ship on Saturday when they play in-state rival, the University of Central Florida. The match will begin at 7:00 p.m.