RedHawks drop first match of year
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 23:09
After starting off the season with five consecutive victories, the Miami University volleyball team suffered its first defeat in a 0-3 decision against Xavier University. The RedHawks (5-1) have two more weekends of non-conference tournaments prior to their Mid-American Conference opener.
Xavier (5-2) asserted itself early in the first set, going on an 11-4 run. Miami responded with a run of its own, going 11-6 with assistance from freshman outside hitter Maris Below’s two kills during the stretch. The teams traded points until the Musketeers assumed a 21-17 lead which paved the way for a 25-20 set win. Junior libero Tori Clifford suffered an injury in the first set, which resulted in senior libero Madison Hardy carrying the defensive load for the rest of the match.
The RedHawks would come out on the offensive in the second set, going on a 5-2 run powered by kills from junior setter/outside hitter Meg Riley and Below. Xavier would retaliate with a 7-2 run before kills by Below, redshirt sophomore middle hitter Jenny Ingle, sophomore outside hitter Annie Reiswig and junior middle hitter Chelsea Visk knotted things up at 14. The two sides would then trade blows until the Musketeers came out with a 25-22 victory.
The ’Hawks would take an early 4-2 advantage in the third set prior to Xavier storming back to take an 8-7 lead. Another Musketeer run of 7-1 was too much for Miami, as the RedHawks fell 21-25 in the final set.
Riley was one of the few bright spots for Miami, as she had a double-double with 11 kills and 15 assists to go with five digs and .476 hitting percentage. Below also had a solid outing with 10 kills and tied for first on the team with nine digs. As a team, Miami was outhit .200-.342, outassisted 32-48, and outdug 43-49.
“Xavier was a very nice, hard hitting team,” head coach Carolyn Condit said. “Riley was protecting the ball [tonight], but we didn’t serve well, didn’t pass well, and our middles weren’t as aggressive as they needed to be. They [Xavier] got timely hits and had speed. I think we learned a lot tonight.”
Riley also discussed the night’s match.
“It’s not what we wanted,” Riley said. “But we’ll learn from it and come into practice this week ready to work and get better.”
The RedHawks will now travel to St. Louis, Mo. for the Billiken Challenge to take on St. Louis University Friday, Bradley University Saturday, and Youngstown State University Saturday night.
St. Louis (3-4) is coming off of a 0-3 defeat at the hands Southern Illinois University. They are led on offense by freshman outside hitter Mallory Dillon, who is averaging 3.86 kills per set, while sophomore libero Anna Church is the anchor of the defense with 4.82 digs per set.
Bradley (5-1) is coming into St. Louis on a three-match winning streak, knocking off Southern Utah University, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Senior middle blocker Amy Angelos is in charge of the Braves’ attack with 3.61 kills per set and a .399 hitting percentage. Senior libero Lauren Zerante’s 5.48 digs per set sets the tone for Bradley’s defense.
Youngstown State (3-3) heads into the Challenge on a two-match losing streak after falling to the University of Tulane and the University of Toledo. Senior setter Casey D’Ambrose is instrumental in setting up the Penguin offense with 9.21 assists per set. Youngstown State plays Arizona State University late Thursday night.
“We’re excited for this weekend,” Riley, a St. Louis native, said. “We’ll be up against some good competition and we hope to bring home three W’s.”