Miami Defeats Virginia Tech In First Match Since September 2

  0 Carly DeMarque | September 23rd, 2017 | ACC, College - Women's Indoor, News

Match Results

  • Miami def. Virginia Tech 3-1, (25-20, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23)
  • Miami improves to 7-0, 1-0 ACC, while Virginia Tech falls to 6-6, 0-1 ACC
  • Coral Gables, Florida
  • Attendance: 475
  • Match Stats

After most of their preseason was thwarted by Hurricane Irma, the Miami Hurricanes made their first appearance on the court since September 2 matter, taking down Virginia Tech to open up ACC play.

Miami had two of their preseason tournament cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, forcing them to sit out a week of practice and lose out on five matches.

The Hurricanes started off the match on a high note posting a .321 hitting clip in the first set. Miami took a 15-8 lead going into the media timeout and extended it to 18-10. Virginia Tech made a small comeback at the Hurricanes before they ended it 25-20.

Virginia Tech started off better in the second set, going up 6-2 quick. The Hurricanes quickly fought back to tie things up at 12 all. The Hokies regained their lead going into the media timeout, leading 15-13. Virginia Tech kept their lead until they won 25-23 to tie the match at one all.

Miami found their footing again in the third set, with the score close until the Hurricanes went on a run to end the set at 25-18. The final set of the match was tight, with both teams pushing for the win or to force a fifth set. The Hurricanes took control though, and finished the match 25-23.

“It’s no fun to be away for nearly three weeks and to lose a full week of practice,” said Olga Strantzali. “When we came back to practice we were really focused and picked up from where we were.”

Kolby Bird led the Hurricanes with 17 kills and seven digs while Strantzali added another 15 kills, eight digs and three blocks. Setter Haley Templeton dished out 41 assists and 11 digs for a double-double while adding five blocks. Sylvia Hernandez picked up a match-best 18 digs.

For Virginia Tech, Rhegan Mitchell handed out 41 assists and 12 digs while Ester Talamazzi posted 15 kills and 15 digs for double-doubles.

Press Release

Courtesy of Miami Athletics

The University of Miami volleyball team opened up Atlantic Coast Conference play with a victory, beating Virginia Tech in four sets at the James L. Knight Sports Complex Friday night.

Behind a big night from junior outside hitter Kolby Bird, who tied her career-high with 17 kills, the Hurricanes (7-0, 1-0 ACC) fought off the resilient Hokies (6-6, 0-1 ACC) 25-20, 23-25, 25-18 and 25-23 to extend their unbeaten streak to seven matches this season.

“It was great to get back on the court to compete,” Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “Things were a little rusty, but the girls were consistent in their efforts and the energy was great. We definitely need to play better in a lot of areas and I believe someday soon we will.

“Kolby has been training well and it’s good to see that’s transferring onto the court. She’s learns from every play and I like her focus. Exciting things are ahead for this team as long as she continues to do all that.”

Bird led all players offensively and complemented her performance with seven digs, a block and an assist. Senior outside hitter Olga Strantzali joined Bird in double figures with 15 kills. Strantzali topped off her night with career nights in assists with four and in solo blocks with two. The Hokies had three players with double-digit kills – Ester Talamazzi (15), Marisa Cerchio (11) and Jaila Tolbert (10).

“I try to do my best every time I hit, to make the play better and just carry the team the way I can,” Bird said. “I don’t keep track of my kills in my head, I just give my best to every single play.”

Redshirt junior setter Haley Templeton picked up a double-double on her first night back home with 41 assists – as many as Virginia Tech setter Rhegan Mitchell – and 11 digs. Templeton had a much better hitting performance than her counterpart, contributing six kills. She was one of three Hurricanes with multiple services aces, recording a pair. Senior outside hitter Brooke McDermott also had two while sophomore setter Hannah Sorensen had a team-high four.

Senior libero Sylvia Hernandez continued her stellar season with match-high 18 digs. She had four assists as well. Three Virginia Tech players had 10 or more digs, led by Talamazzi, who rounded off her double-double with 15.

The Hurricanes had demonstrated strength at the net Friday, outblocking the Hokies 12-5. Senior middle blocker Sakile Simmons led Miami with six blocks, twice as many as Cunningham, who led Virginia Tech. Junior middle blocker Lucia Pampana and Templeton had five blocks apiece for the Canes.

Miami took the lead with a highly-efficient first set in which the Hurricanes hit .321 as a team. Simmons and Templeton picked up the first block of the match to give Miami the first two-point lead in a back-and-forth start to the opening set, 6-4. Sorensen contributed back-to-back service aces off the bench as the Canes entered double digits with a four-point lead. Miami led, 15-8, at the media timeout and its lead grew to as many as eight at 18-10 before McDermott closed out at the set with a tip kill.

Virginia Tech enjoyed a better start to the second set, which materialized into a four-point lead at 6-2. Several errors by the Hokies and a kill by Templeton allowed the Hurricanes to tie the score at 12 all, but Virginia Tech regained the momentum and went into the media timeout up by a pair, 15-13. Three points after play resumed, the visitors’ lead was five, which forced Miami’s first timeout in the match. Miami knocked on the door later in the set and orchestrated a 5-1 run to come within a point at 24-23, but the Hokies came away with the set after a block by Cara Cunningham and Jaila Tolbert.

Bird contributed four kills – including three straight – in a 9-4 initial run by Miami in the third set, over the course of which the Hurricanes hit .700 as a team. Strong minutes by Virginia Tech followed, as the Hokies won nine out of 11 points to lead for the first time in the set, 13-11. Miami came right back into it with a 5-0 run, which featured two aces by Templeton, two kills by Strantzali and a Pampana-Strantzali block. Virginia Tech responded with consecutive points to make it 16-15, but the Hurricanes learned from their mistake and closed the set on a 9-3 run to regain the lead in the match. McDermott produced back-to-back aces on her serving sequence before Templeton decided the set with her fifth kill of the match, 25-18.

Strantzali’s second kill of the fourth set gave Miami the largest lead in the set at 8-5, but it was neutralized immediately by a 4-0 Virginia Tech run. Later, a slide kill by Cunningham and an ace by Talamazzi gave Virginia Tech a 15-13 lead, the first time the Hokies had led by two since 13-11 in the third set, a run of 47 points. Miami tied the score at 15 all on Sorensen’s career-tying fourth ace, but the visitors regained their two-point lead with a Marisa Cerchio kill for 19-17. After the Canes tied the score 21-21, it was big plays from the veterans who ensured Miami’s seventh straight victory. The first match point, which came at 24-22 after an emphatic block by Simmons and Pampana, was canceled by Talamazzi’s 15th kill. However, nothing could deny Strantzali’s well-placed two-handed tap that wrapped up one of the longest rallies in the contest at 25-23, making the win that much sweeter.

“It was no fun to be away for nearly three weeks [because of Hurricane Irma] and to lose a full week of practice,” Strantzali said. “When we came back to practice we were really focused and picked up from where we were. And it’s fun because we know that we have a really good team and can do some pretty big things here.”

Miami will complete the opening weekend of ACC play with a match against Virginia on Sunday. First serve in the Knight Complex is slated for 1 p.m.

For all the latest information on Miami Hurricanes volleyball, follow the official Twitter feed, @CanesVB, or “Like Us” on Facebook at The program is also on Instagram.

Press Release

Courtesy of Virginia Tech Athletics

Virginia Tech’s Rhegan Mitchell and Ester Talamazzi posted double-doubles Friday evening, however, it was not enough as RV Miami (FL) edged out the Hokies’ volleyball squad, 3-1, inside the Knight Complex.

Tech (6-6, 0-1 ACC) competed with the Hurricanes (7-0, 1-0 ACC), who hadn’t played a match in more than 20 days due to Hurricane Irma, in nail-biting fashion with 22 ties and 11 lead changes on the night.

Miami, which played in its first home match of the season, played to its crowd to open up set one, leading 15-8 to force a Tech timeout. The Hokies cut the deficit to four, 23-19, but the Canes finished strong to claim the first set, 25-23. Marisa Cerchio and Jaila Tolbert combined for nine kills, while the team hit .300 in the opening frame.

Jumping out to an early 6-2 lead, the Hokies continued pushing their advantage before The U made a comeback to tie it 13-all. With the score knotted, Tech scored five-straight points and that would be enough, taking the second set by a score of 25-23.

The Hurricanes started the third frame out hot, leading 9-4 to force a Tech timeout. Out of the break, Jill Wilson’s squad put together a 9-2 run to take the lead behind Tolbert’s two kills, 13-11. However, that would be its only lead of the set as Miami finished the frame on a run 15-7.

The final set of the night turned out to be quite the battle as there was 12 ties and seven lead changes between the two teams. No team gained a bigger lead than three, and the frame began with the score tied 13-13.

Each team wouldn’t let the other gain an edge greater than two, with the score coming to a halt, 21-21, after a Hokie timeout. Trading places until the match point, the Hurricanes’ Olga Strantzali placed the ball in the back left corner to earn the kill, giving Miami the set, 25-23, and the match.


– Cerchio, a freshman, racked up a career-high 11 kills while playing a new position. The middle blocker filled in at the left side hitter spot and did not disappoint, beating her previous mark of seven kills versus Idaho State in the season opener on Aug. 25.

– Mitchell turned in her third double-double this fall and 13th of her storied career. The setter dished out 41 assists, the most since Sept. 2 against SMU, and 12 digs.

– Talamazzi registered a 15-kill, 15-dig performance, marking the freshman’s second double-double of her career. She’s tallied 27 kills in her last two matches.

– Tolbert posted 10 kills, which is the sixth match this season she has tallied double-digit kills.

– Redshirt senior Stacey Christy recorded five kills and one service ace. With the ace, the Maryland native has chipped in an ace in four of her last five matches.


– Tech had three players reach double-digit kills in Talamazzi (15), Cerchio (11) and Tolbert (10), marking the fourth time in 2017 that the Hokies have had three players have 10 or more kills in a match.


“It was a fantastic match. I’m really excited about the grit and fight that our team showed. I’m certainly not happy with the lost, but our team was flying into the stands for balls and gave full effort. It was a major step for our program tonight.”


The Hokies will head north to face the only ranked team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, No. 19 Florida State, on Sunday in Tallahassee at 1 p.m. ET.

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About Carly DeMarque

Carly DeMarque

Carly DeMarque has been involved with competitive volleyball for the majority of her life, playing competitively at the club and collegiate level for 15 years and coaching club for five. Now a retired Division I volleyball athlete out of McNeese State University, she continues her volleyball enthusiasm by stepping back into …

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