CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami volleyball wins a thrilling opening match of the 2020 season, taking down the defending NIVC Champions Georgia Tech, 3-2.
Led by All-ACC Preseason honoree Elizaveta Lukianova’s match-leading 23 kills, Miami registered 70 total kills, 67 assists, six service aces and 10 team blocks.
“The first win is always tough,” head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “We have a lot of young people out in the lineup and [Georgia Tech] is a really good team who returned key players. We battled some nerves, but I’m proud of the way they battled back to win.”
The Canes opened its 2020 season steamrolling on offense with six Canes recording 17 total kills and a staggering .516 attack percentage. Lukianova led both teams with seven kills in the opening set, while redshirt freshman Angela Grieve saw her first bit of action as a Cane, registering four.
“Angie’s road to recovery was long, but she’s very skilled and I’m proud of the way she responded to the pressure of the six-rotation and she responded really well to it all,” Gandara said.
The Hurricanes held Georgia Tech to a .250 attack percentage and just 11 assists. Miami took four of the final five points of the set and the 1-0 lead at 25-17.
Miami continued to contain the Yellow Jackets with a .219 attack percentage, while recording four team blocks led by sophomore Janice Leao’s two. Four Canes – Janet Kalaniuvalu, Lukianova, Grieve and Leao all registered three or more kills in the set to go up 2-0 with a 25-20 set win.
Georgia Tech took the next two sets, 25-19, 25-18, to force a fifth set. The Yellow Jackets recorded their best offensive efforts of the night and held Miami to below .250 in both, limiting the Canes’ offense to just 11 kills in the fourth.
A thrilling fifth set featured 10 ties and five lead changes. Lukianova took control converting six of her nine attempts for kills, while Kalaniuvalu added four to her final 13. Miami took the final set, 16-14.
Four Canes finished with double-digit kills – Lauren Tarnoff (11), Kalaniuvalu (13), Lukianova (23) and Grieve (14). Junior libero Priscilla Hernandez finished with career highs in both digs (23) and assists (5), while sophomore Savannah Vach was two assists shy of tying her career high with 56.
Miami returns to the Knight Gym Friday, to host the Yellow Jackets at 6 p.m. The match will be streamed on ACC Networks Extra and broadcasted on WVUM.