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RedHawks prepare for MAC road trip

By Jordan Rinard
On September 27, 2012

After dropping decisions to Kent State University (KSU) and Ohio University (OU) to open the Mid-American Conference (MAC) season, the Miami University volleyball team travels this weekend to face conference foes the University at Buffalo (UB) and the University of Akron.

The RedHawks (5-10, 0-2 MAC) are looking to rebound and pick up their first MAC win of the season.

"We have been working on our receiving and attacking harder this week," junior libero Madison Hardy said.

The Red and White are also trying to build confidence after suffering setbacks against KSU and OU.

"This week in practice we've been doing some hard work and some consistency drills," senior outside hitter and co-captain Lisa Treadway said. "We'll get where we need to be if we just keep building confidence."

The RedHawks are hoping to end their four-match skid this weekend and should be up to the task with their personnel. Hardy leads the team in digs with 264, 120 more than the second-leading dig recorder. Sophomore outside hitter Meg Riley has also been a key contributor for the Red and White with her 3.21 kills per set and 4.51 assists per set. Miami is averaging 11 assists per set this season, providing scoring opportunities that are much needed in conference play.

The 'Hawks start the weekend in New York, NY against Buffalo (6-8, 0-2) 7 p.m. Friday.

The Bulls are coming off consecutive home losses, the most recent a 1-3 defeat at the hands of the University of Toledo. In that match, freshman middle blocker Akeila Lain kept UB in with 11 kills and seven digs. Buffalo also has a daunting home court advantage and boasts a 5-1 home record.

Miami returns to Ohio to take on Akron (8-6, 1-1) 5 p.m. Saturday. The Zips dropped a 1-3 decision against Ball State University (BSU) last weekend, marking Akron's second loss in three matches.

Akron's offense is powered by junior outside hitter Alex Cocklin and senior outside hitter Chelsea Harvey, who accounted for 23 of the 42 kills by the Zips against BSU and are a part of the team's .252 hitting percentage. Akron also plays well at home, touting a 5-1 record in Rhodes Arena this season.

Despite this, Miami sees a golden opportunity for itself in its first MAC road games.

"We expect ourselves to win both games this weekend," Hardy said. "Getting two wins against MAC East opponents would be great for us."

The 'Hawks also see this weekend as a springboard for the rest of the season.

"Road wins in the MAC would build our chemistry and give us a mental advantage over teams," Treadway said. "Buffalo and Akron are in the same division as us and we have to face them later this season, so getting a win at their place would be a great step forward."

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