College News

College: No Drama As NCAA Tourney Opens

Utah defeated Cleveland State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament and now hosts Purdue in one of the best matches of the second round.

(Courtesy of Utah Athletics)

It was a light day of action as the 2017 NCAA Tournament is officially underway.

There was nothing out of the ordinary to report.

Second-seeded Florida and No. 11 Utah cruised, while Miami and Purdue advanced in four.

A rundown:

No. 2 Florida 3, Alabama State: There was little doubt that Florida was going to win, but the Gators surpassed expectations with a tremendous offensive display in the sweep, 25-9, 25-13, 25-9. Led by Shainah Joseph’s nine kills and .533 hitting percentage, Florida finished the contest at a .446 clip overall. The Gators had just seven errors on 74 swings. Up next is Miami.

Miami 3, College of Charleston 1: Senior outside hitter Olga Strantzali (match-high 14 kills), redshirt junior setter Haley Templeton (match-high 47 assists) and senior libero Sylvia Hernandez (match-high 15 digs) were at the heart of the Hurricanes’ triumph, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15. It was Miami’s first postseason win since 2014 and fifth total in program history. “College of Charleston is a good team, well-coached, and they were ready to play tonight. We appreciate the opportunity to play them tonight in this environment,” Miami coach Keno Gandara said. “The players were excited and were able to manage their emotions, so we did enough to win. Obviously, we have some things we need to fix before our next match, but I am excited about the way they approached the match – they kept their composure and we kept getting better as the match went on. We made too many hitting errors in games one and two. In games three and four we were a lot better at taking care of the ball.”

Purdue 3, High Point 1: Katie Doering – 10 kills, .381 hitting percentage – was good for High Point but there was way too much Danielle Cuttino for the Boilermakers. She powered down 18 kills and hit .368 as Purdue took it in four, 21-25, 25-14, 25-22, 25-12. “We’re happy to be moving on,” Purdue coach Dave Shondell said. “I know how hard it is to advance in the NCAA Tournament and to get into the NCAA Tournament, so we’re really excited that we got the win. I’m proud of the way we fought, the way we competed and now we’re ready for whatever happens next.”

No. 11 Utah 3, Cleveland State 0: It was a solid performance all around for the Utes in the sweep, 25-14, 25-21, 25-12. Utah hit .337 as a team, with Adora Anae leading the charge with 11 kills and a .348 clip. Carly Trueman (9 kills, .333), Kenzie Koerber (6 kills, .385) and Tawnee Luafalemana (5 kills, .364) were just as effective as Utah gets ready for its second-round clash with Purdue. “It was a Thursday night and not as many free tickets going around because it is a little different with the NCAA’s and we had almost 1,800 people, which is almost our average,” Utah coach Beth Launiere said. “I expect more tomorrow and I think it is going to be an exciting night. You asked about did it feel different, I thought it really felt like the NCAA tournament. Everybody around the athletic department was excited and fired up this week, so it really felt like we were going to the NCAA tournament.”

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