CORAL GABLES, Fla. - A career-high 30-dig performance from senior libero Ashley Veach, and three double-double performances wasn't enough for the Ole Miss volleyball team in its season opener at Miami (Fla.) in the Hurricane Invitational. After winning the opening two sets, the Rebels couldn't hold on against the home-standing Hurricanes, falling 3-2 (24-26, 20-25, 25-15, 25-15, 15-8).
"The thing they have to realize is that it's a team effort," Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. "Win, lose or draw you are a team one way or another. We have to respond now to a tough Samford team Saturday morning."
After falling behind early in the first set 6-1, the Rebels used a 9-2 run to take a 10-8 lead. The two teams traded points back and forth before senior Amanda Philpot and freshman Nakeyta Clair teamed up for their second block of the set to give the Rebels a 14-13 lead. Ole Miss would never trail again for the remainder of the set as Philpot, Clair, Whitney Craven, Kara Morgan and Kellie Goss each had team-highs of three kills.
After falling behind 4-1 to start the second set, Ole Miss again rebounded strongly, going on a 5-1 run to take a 6-5 lead. Following a Miami (Fla.) timeout with the Rebels leading 15-11, Philpot recorded Ole Miss' next three points to give Ole Miss an 18-13 lead. Goss and Morgan led Ole Miss offensively for the set with four kills each.
Despite the 2-0 lead, Getzin said he still saw his team failing to execute in the manner he was hoping for.
"We started playing to the score a little bit and didn't respond very well," Getzin said. "It's tough to play on the road. It's a little disappointing, a little frustrating, but you learn from it and move to the next one."
Miami took the third set by a count of 25-15, hitting at a strong clip of 68 percent, recording 14 kills on 24 attempts. The Hurricanes also won the fourth set, leading for much of the set and taking it by a final count of 25-15.
The Hurricanes jumped out to an early lead in the fifth set and withstood a 4-2 run by the Rebels to take the set 15-8, and the match.
Craven (12 kills, 12 digs), Philpot (37 assists, 14 digs) and Morgan (12 kills, 11 digs) each finished with double-doubles for the Rebels. Philpot finished the match two kills shy of her sixth career-triple-double. Veach's 30 digs was a career high and caught Getzin's eyes.
"Any time you put up 30 digs, six digs per game, that's some really good numbers," Getzin said. "She did a really nice job passing wise as well."
Ole Miss will compete in a pair of matches Saturday at the Hurricane Invitational. The Rebels will face Samford, which fell to Rutgers in its opening match 3-2, at 9:00 a.m. CT. Ole Miss will then close out its trip to Coral Gables, Fla., with a 3:00 p.m. CT match against Wofford, which played a doubleheader Friday, losing to Miami (3-0) and Rutgers (3-2).
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including recaps and updates from each of Saturday's two matches, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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