CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team won its fourth straight match, 3-1, against Syracuse on Friday night inside the Knight Sports Complex.
The Hurricanes (18-3, 9-2 ACC) took a commanding 2-0 lead with set wins of 25-21 and 25-20. The Orange (15-8, 4-7 ACC) bounced back by taking the third frame, 25-18. Miami responded by winning a competitive fourth set, 25-21.
“A little bit of a match of contrasts – Syracuse has some unbelievable arms, whereas we have to be pretty tactical to sideout,” said head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara. “That’s a scary place to be, trying to keep up with an opponent that has elite left sides. We have some work to do defensively, mostly blocking and defending tips. I’d imagine Boston College is going to test us in those areas on Sunday, so we’ll get an opportunity to do a better job than we did tonight.”
Miami recorded season-best marks of 69 kills and 63 assists, the second time this season it has finished a match with 60 or more kills and 60 or more assists.
Four Canes – Janet Kalaniuvalu, Angela Grieve, Peyman Yardimci and Janice Leao – recorded double-digit kills in the win. This marks the fourth match this year that four players have tallied double-digit kills. Kalaniuvalu and Grieve led Miami with 18 kills, while Yardimci added in 13 and Leao totaled 11 on the night. The quartet combined for nine digs and eight blocks.
“Savannah [Vach] was remarkable tonight running our offense,” added Gandara. “She’s playing at an All-American level right now and has been all season.”
Vach notched her third match this season with 50 or more assists, finishing with 56.
An early 4-0 run in the opening frame from Syracuse led to Miami using its first timeout, trailing 9-5. The tables turned as the Canes fired away on a 10-2 run, taking a 15-11 lead, and forcing the Orange to use both of its timeouts early. Ahead late, 22-20, Miami used its final timeout before taking three of the final four points to close out the opening frame with the win, 25-21.
After the ‘Cuse took the first point of the second set, the Hurricanes rallied off a 10-1 run to take a commanding eight-point advantage. Trailing 13-7, the Orange pulled to within one, 13-12, with five straight points. Grieve recorded two kills accompanied by an attacking error from Syracuse to give Miami the lead, 20-16, and make the ‘Cuse use its second timeout. Three late kills from Aristea Tontai helped the Canes claim the second set, 25-20, with a 5-1 run.
Syracuse utilized a 4-1 run to begin the third frame and never looked back as it took its first set of the night, 25-18, despite the Canes remaining within striking distance the entire way.
Yardimci and Tontai teamed up for a block late in the fourth set as the turning point Miami needed to cross the finish line. In a tightly contested frame, the teams drew even at 11 all. Miami took a narrow lead, 15-14, to the media timeout before Syracuse went on a 5-2 run, pulling ahead 19-17. The block from Yardimci and Tontai ignited the set closing 8-2 run for the Canes, earning the 25-21 set win.
Next, the Hurricanes will host Boston College at 1 p.m. in the Knight Sports Complex on Sunday.
Miami Hurricanes Athletics – Seth Goodman contributed to column