Red and White jump to 3rd in MAC East
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 12:10
After picking up its first Mid-American Conference (MAC) win of the season last weekend, the Miami University volleyball team triumphed Friday and Saturday against MAC West rivals the University of Toledo (UT) and Ball State University (BSU), respectively. The victories come at a crucial time, as the Red and White are now in third place in the MAC East standings with six games left in the regular season before the MAC Tournament.
The RedHawks (8-15, 3-7 MAC) opened the weekend with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 26-24) sweep of Toledo (8-15, 2-8 MAC) in their annual Dig Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness match. Miami jumped out to early leads of 7-1, 7-2 and 6-2 in the respective sets, and fought off a pesky Rocket squad in a final stanza in which UT got on a 12-6 run early in the set.
Redshirt freshman outside hitter Jenny Ingle had her coming out party for the ’Hawks Friday night, setting a career high in kills (15) to go with a .636 hitting percentage and three blocks.
Another key contributor for the Red and White was sophomore outside hitter/setter Meg Riley with a near double-double of nine kills and 23 assists to go with three digs. As a team, Miami hit an astounding .385 for the match and out-dug Toledo 43-35.
“We pulled together tonight,” Ingle said. “We worked on our [playable passes] this week, and I could see around the block tonight. Getting the win was big in building our team chemistry.”
Head Coach Carolyn Condit talked about the team’s Friday night performance.
“I’m really proud of Jenny Ingle’s performance tonight,” she said. “[Senior outside hitter] Lisa Treadway also played great, holding her own despite being a smaller hitter. Tonight, our setters distributed and passed the ball well, which is a big reason why we played well.”
Toledo suffered its second consecutive loss at the hands of the RedHawks. A lone bright spot for the Rockets Friday was junior outside hitter Lauren Rafdal, who recorded a near double-double with 12 kills and seven digs. Toledo had a rough night hitting the ball regardless, only mustering a .153 hitting percentage.
Miami earned an upset victory over Ball State (11-12, 4-6 MAC) Saturday in a 3-2 (25-23, 24-26, 18-25, 27-25, 15-11) decision. The match was a part of International Day, where the RedHawks recognized Miami’s international students. Both teams were neck and neck for the majority of the first two sets, splitting both. In the third set, the Cardinals asserted themselves with 9-3 and 5-1 runs to earn the set point. The Red and White came out in the following set trading points with BSU and eventually made the plays they needed to force a fifth set. The ’Hawks closed out the match on a 9-3 run to pick up their third MAC win of the season and their first win over the Cards in two years.
“We played hard and had good passing,” Riley said. “We realize now that we can hang with anyone we play against.”
The main contributors for Miami in the match included Riley, Ingle and senior outside hitter Amy Kendall. The sophomore had another standout performance with 20 kills and 21 assists, while Ingle and Kendall accounted for 11 kills and 3.5 blocks, and 32 assists, respectively. The RedHawks also out blocked Ball State in the match (13.0-10.0).
“I’m proud of our kids,” Condit said. “Sarah Chaney had some big plays in the fifth set, as did Kendall in the fourth set. Treadway and Dodd served with aggressiveness and really worked hard on defense.”
The Cardinals had notable performances in the match as well, with senior outside hitter Kara Bates, junior setter Jacqui Seidel and freshman setter Jenna Spadafora each recording double-doubles. As a team, the Cardinals had more return errors (8-3) than Miami, which would turn out to be their undoing.
“Getting this win was big for our confidence,” Condit said. “It was a confirmation that we can play with anyone in the MAC.”
Next weekend, Miami makes its way to Athens, Ohio to battle Ohio University 7 p.m. Friday. The ’Hawks then face Kent State University 7 p.m. Saturday.