GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The 24th-ranked University of Miami volleyball team was swept by the 16-seed and 21st-ranked Florida Gators in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship on Friday night inside Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
The Hurricanes finished the year with an overall record of 25-5 and 15-3 mark in conference play. This is the program’s first 25-win season under head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara and first since 2012 when it won 26 matches.
“Congratulations to Florida,” said head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara. “Mary [Wise] is an icon in our sport and she does a really nice job and credit to them. Also, thank you to the organizing committee – they’ve done a wonderful job hosting and we appreciate that.
“I’m really proud of this group, obviously, it takes a lot of work to get to this point and we value that. Unfortunately, tonight wasn’t our best night. We faced a good opponent that was ready to play. I’m proud of the effort and the focus of our players, but unfortunately, our performance didn’t match up.”
Senior libero Priscilla Hernandez recorded 15 digs on the night to become the eighth player in program history with 1,000 career digs. She moved into eighth in the school record book with 1,011 career digs.
The Gators jumped out to a quick 7-3 advantage in the first set and never looked back as they took the opening frame in convincing fashion, 25-15.
Once again, it was Florida taking charge first as it claimed a 6-2 lead. Leao hammered home a kill to spark a 6-0 Hurricanes run to put them in front, 8-6, to make UF use a timeout. The Gators regained their lead with a 7-2 run out of the break. Down 13-10, Miami answered with a 3-1 run to make the score 14-13 in favor of Florida. The Canes drew within one late, 19-18, but UF held on for the 25-20 set two victory.
The Gators opened the third set with three straight points before eventually taking the set, 25-16.
“As somebody who has seen them grow and be around them every day for the ups and downs, I understand the difficulties and the challenges of a match like this,” added Gandara. “I know we’re going to grow from this experience. I’m proud of this team and we have a handful of players returning. I can’t thank our seniors enough for leading the way in helping us get here. It’s been a difficult road the last couple of years with some challenges, and to get here today is a great opportunity for our program and a chance to grow moving forward.”
Seth Goodman Miami Hurricanes Athletics contributed to game recap