AMES, Iowa -- Christine Williamson placed 18 kills while hitting at a .630 clip to help lead Miami (Fla.) past Northern Illinois 3-1 in opening-round action of the NCAA tournament inside Hilton Coliseum on Friday.

The Canes collected the win on scores of 25-17, 21-25, 25-12 and 26-24.

Miami (26-4) bolted out to a quick lead in the third set and never looked back as senior All-America outside hitter Lane Carico registered six kills and redshirt freshman Emani Sims put down a block to go along with great defense by the Canes. Miami held the Huskies to just .075 hitting in the frame en route to a 25-12 win.

The third set score was the second-largest margin of victory for the Canes this season in a 25-point set.

In the fourth set, Miami fell behind at 17-16 when Northern Illinois (28-7) teammates Mary Kurisch and MacKenzie Roddy met for a block on Canes' hitter Carico. The Canes would storm back to take a 23-21 advantage behind blocks from Sims and redshirt senior outside hitter Christine Williamson, as well as a Williamson kill.

With the score later tied at 24, sophomore right side Alex Johnson and Carico placed the final two kills of the match to help Miami to its first NCAA tournament win since defeating Wisconsin 3-1 in 2002. That season, the Hurricanes advanced to the round of 16.

Leading 1-0 in the match, Miami fell behind 5-0 to start the second set before rallying to take a 10-9 advantage behind kills from Williamson. Also providing kills was classmate Carico.

NIU stormed back with a block from Sarah Angelos and timely kills from Lauren Wicinski, the nation's leader in kills and points. The Huskies forced the Hurricanes into five errors in the set and collected the 25-21 decision to knot the match at one as the teams split for intermission.

Miami fell behind 8-3 in the opening set before Carico served for seven consecutive points for the Hurricanes, putting them in front at 10-8. Carico collected two service aces during the run. As the Canes hit at a .481 clip in the opener, it was Williamson providing the team with eight kills in the opener.