Strantzali Racks Up School Record 33 Kills as Miami Bests Louisville

  0 Wendy Mayer | October 21st, 2017 | ACC, College - Women's Indoor, News


  • Miami (Fla.) def. Louisville (RV) 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 26-24, 25-14)
  • Miami moves to 12-3, 6-3 ACC; Louisville falls to 13-6, 7-2 ACC
  • Coral Gables, Florida
  • Attendance: 770
  • Box Score


CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Senior outside hitter Olga Stranzali put down a school match record 33 kills to lift Miami (Fla.) to a four-set win over vote-getter Louisville on Friday.

Strantzali’s haul bested Savannah Leaf‘s 31 kill tally from the Hurricanes’ five-set win over UCF in the 2014 NCAA Tournament first round. The senior hit at an impressive .460 clip with just four errors in 63 swings, while also adding seven digs and a block.

Junior outside Kolby Bird also notched double-digit kills in the match with 13 to go with nine digs and a team-best four blocks. Senior libero Sylvia Hernandez pulled up a match-high 17 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Sara Duque followed with 10 digs. Sophomore setter Hannah Sorensen and senior outside Brooke McDermott accounted for three aces apiece.

Three Louisville players tallied double-figure kills totals: sophomore outside Melanie McHenry (13), redshirt sophomore outside Amanda Green (12) and senior outside Tess Clark (11). Green rounded out a double-double with 10 digs and four blocks, while senior middle Maggie DeJong also added four stuffs. Junior setter Wilma Rivera notched a team-best 12 digs to go with her 38 assists, while Green (10), junior libero Molly Sauer (10) and senior defensive specialist Gabbie Wiley (10) followed. The loss snapped a six-match win streak for the Cardinals.

The Hurricanes edged the Cardinals in nearly every statistical category, outhitting UofL .300 to .277 and besting them 60-51 in kills, 9-2 in aces and 6-5 in blocks. Louisville outdid Miami 54-53 in digs, but gave away 12 points on service errors.

Miami hit at a .452 clip in the opening set, which began with the teams splitting the first 10 points. The Hurricanes took a four-point lead at 13-9 with help from four Strantzali putaways. The Cardinals scored three of the next four, but kills by Bird and Lucia Pampana and a block by the duo gave Miami an 18-13 edge. Down 23-18, Louisville took advantage of two Cane miscues and a McHenry kill to pull within two at 23-21. A service error and Bird putaway sealed the Miami win at 25-21.

Louisville notched its best hitting effort of the night with a .406 effort in Set 2, kicking things off with an 8-2 run, including four Miami miscues and a kill and a block by Green. Miami called timeout, but couldn’t get any closer than four. Down 13-7 after two kills and a block by DeJong, Miami began chipping away, pulling within two at 16-14 with help from three UofL miscues and kills by three different players. A Haley Templeton kill had Miami within one at 17-16, but Louisville raised the lead back to four at 23-19 with two Green putaways. A Miami service error and McHenry kill gave the Cardinals the 25-21 victory and evened the match at a set apiece

The Cardinals outhit Miami .312 to .286 in Set 3, but the Hurricanes tallied five more kills to offset its six miscues (to 3) in the 26-24 win. Miami raced out to a 12-6 lead as Stranzali notched five kills and Bird added three putaways and a block. The Cards got no closed than three as the Canes upped the margin to seven at 18-11 and later 23-16. Louisville held off Miami with a 7-1 run. A Wiley ace and kill by Megan Sloan made it 23-20. Stranzali downed another kill to make it set point for the Canes at 24-20. The Cardinals answered the call thwarting four set-point tries with kills by Green and Kali Eaken and a pair of Miami miscues. A Stranzali putaway and UofL hitting error salvaged the 26-24 win for the Hurricanes.

Stranzali posted three kills and Sorensen and Bird turned in aces as Miami jumped out ot a 6-1 lead in Set 4. Up just three at 9-6, the Hurricanes managed eight of the next nine points to go ahead by 11 at 18-7. Four kills and a block by Bird and a Brooke McDermott ace helped push Miami to the advantage. Louisville scored three in a row, including two on Hurricane errors, but would get no closer than eight the rest of the way. Stranzali notched four kills in the final 7-4 run.



Courtesy: Miami Athletics

Behind a historic performance from senior Olga Strantzali, the University of Miami volleyball team bested Louisville 3-1 at the James L. Knight Sports Complex on Friday night.

Strantzali is Miami’s new all-time record holder for kills in a single match after contributing 33 of the Hurricanes’ (12-3, 6-3 ACC) 60 kills in the 25-21, 21-25, 26-24, 25-14 triumph, handing the Cardinals (13-6, 7-2 ACC) their second Atlanatic Coast Conference loss. She surpassed Savanah Leaf’s 31 kills, which came in a five-set win over UCF in the opening round of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship.

The senior assisted on the defensive end as well, recording seven digs and a block. Strantzali’s block was the Canes’ only solo block of the match and helped the Hurricanes outblock Louisville, 6-5, after being heavily outblocked by the Cardinals three weeks ago.

Strantzali’s efficiency on the night was nearly as impressive as her kill total. The outside hitter made only four errors on her 63 attempts to hit .460 on the night, the highest percentage among all pin hitters who played  in the match.

“Those numbers are as good as I’ve ever seen from anybody and it was fun to watch,” Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “Her efficiency in different situations – in transition and in serve-receive – and the way she responded to mistakes were unbelievable.

“All season long Olga has been training hard, and even though she may not have played as well as she’d liked, she always knew what she had to work on. Tonight her efforts paid off.”

Junior outside hitter Kolby Bird joined Strantzali in double figures, contributing 13 kills. Bird had as many as Louisville’s top scorer Melanie McHenry, but had a slightly better .320 percentage. Amanda Green added 12 kills for the Cardinals and tallied the only double-double in the match after picking up 10 digs as well.

Miami’s redshirt junior setter Haley Templeton, who was name ACC Player of the Week Monday, recorded match-high 50 assists, while contributing five digs and a block defensively.

“I could tell right away that this is [Strantzali’s] match,” Templeton said. “She was ready to play, she was ready to come out and beat this team. She did it. She had an amazing game.”

Senior libero Sylvia Hernandez led all players with 17 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Sara Duque had 10 for the Hurricanes. They led a defensive line that allowed only two service aces on the night.

Bird was only a dig away from a double-double, but made up for it at the net, where she recorded team-high four blocks, tying Louisville’s Green and Maggie DeJong for the feat.

Strantzali, Bird and Templeton each contributed an ace for Miami, but it was sophomore setter Hannah Sorensen and senior outside hitter Brooke McDermottwho were the Hurricanes’ primary service weapons Friday night, contributing three aces apiece.

Behind an impressive .452 hitting, Miami took the first set, 25-21. Strantzali got going early on and had eight first-set kills – six off her first nine swings – to help the Hurricanes led by as many as five before a late 4-1 run by Louisville made it 23-21. Nevertheless, two points later junior outside hitter Kolby Bird settled the set with her fourth kill. Miami’s offensive efficiency limited the Cardinals to just one block in the set, which came on the opening point of the contest.

“Teams were having good numbers against us blocking, so it was something we addressed,” Gandara said. “We just had to learn how to challenge the block. I thought that tonight we faced a well-blocking team and it didn’t affect us that much. It takes composure to take the right shot at the right time and to be persistent until we get it right. It’s been something that we’ve been working on, so it was nice to see it come to fruition.”

After winning eight out of the first 10 points in the second set, Louisville never gave up the momentum and won it 25-21 to tie the match. Miami stuck around in mid-set and made it a one-point set with an emphatic kill by Templeton for 17-16, but the Cardinals were the more clinical team in the decisive moments. Louisville made only six combined attack errors and went into the locker room hitting .350. The two defenses went into the intermission in a stalemate with 24 digs apiece.

Despite having a seven-point cushion at 22-15 in the third set thanks to an ace by McDermott, Miami had to go to extra points before regaining its lead in the match. Louisville orchestrated a 9-2 to tie the score at 24 all, but Strantzali’s 26thkill of the match and an error by Green wrapped up the set at 26-24. The Canes won the fourth set despite Louisville’s slightly higher hitting.

Strantzali contributed seven kills in the fourth set to make sure her historical performance was topped off with an important ACC victory as Miami routed to a 25-14 triumph. The Hurricanes forced their opponent into a timeout only seven points into the set after enjoying a 6-1 start. Two kills by Tess Clark and one by DeJong made it 6-4 to create some momentum for Louisville, but the Canes would not have that. Not long after, three straight kills by Bird made it 12-6 Miami and were a part of a 9-1 Canes run that increased the lead to 11 at 18-7. All Louisville could do for the rest of the match was to keep the deficit at 11 before Strantzali did what she had been doing all night, grabbing the match-winning kill.

“It was awesome, it was the best game I have ever had,” said Strantzali after ensuring her place in Miami Volleyball history. “It was so much fun to be out there and dominating them. I loved it. That was the most important thing today.”

“Everything felt good since the first set and I knew I am going to have a good night, but on top of all I am so happy we beat Louisville, because we lost there. My teammates helped out a lot. We passed well, Haley was awesome today…they just made my job a little easier.”

Miami returns to the court on Sunday to take on Notre Dame, which prevailed over Florida State, 3-1, on Friday night. First serve against the Fighting Irish in the Knight Complex is scheduled for 2 p.m.


Courtesy: Louisville Athletics

University of Miami outside hitter Olga Strantzali had a school record 33 kills to lead the Hurricanes to a 3-1 win over Louisville in ACC volleyball action Friday night in Miami.

Miami won 25-21, 21-25, 26-24, 25-14 and improves its record to 12-3 and 6-3 in the ACC. UofL moves to 13-6 and 7-2 in the league.  UofL was led by Melanie McHenry‘s 13 kills with Amanda Green adding 12 and Tess Clark connecting for 11 kills. The Cards hit .277 to the Canes .300 in a high octane match that also saw UofL get five blocks and have 54 digs.  UofL had 12 service errors and were aced by UM nine times.

In the first set, Miami used .452 hitting to keep the Cardinals at arm’s length.  The Hurricanes had a 9-4 run midway through the set to go up 19-14.  UofL battled back to get within 2 at 21-23 and forced Miami to call timeout to try to chill the hot serving hand of Wilma Rivera. The ploy worked as a service error by Rivera and a kill by UM’s Kolby Byrd gave UM the 25-21 win.

In the second set, Louisville jumped out to a 9-3 lead early and then held a hard-charging Miami team at bay. The Canes came within three at 22-19 but the Cards survived two service errors before Melanie McHenry had the final kill, her sixth of the set for the 25-21 win.

The Cardinals were down 21-15 in the third set and managed to go on an 8-4 run but fell short as the Canes won 26-24. The Cards hit .312, had two blocks and got four kills out of Melanie McHenryOlga Strantzali had 11 kills  and an ace to lead the ‘Canes.

The Cards were not able to hold on to the momentum of the final third of the previous set and let the Canes blow out to a 6-1 lead.  The Canes heated up and went on a 9-1 run midway through the set to take an 18-7 lead.  Deflated, the Cards were unable to string together a run of their own and fell 25-14.

Louisville heads to Tallahassee for a Sunday matchup at FSU at 1 p.m.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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