By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
After finishing its nonconference slate with a winning record, the Miami University volleyball team now turns its attention to the Mid-American Conference as it opens at the University of Akron and University at Buffalo this weekend. Last season, the RedHawks (7-5) went 0-3 against the Rockets and Bulls.
"We're ready for the MAC season," sophomore setter Krista Brakauskas said. "We've been watching film and working on our defense, our serving and our passing. We know Toledo's and Buffalo's transitions and what they run and when they run it. We're so excited to begin the MAC season after a hard preseason and show people what we're made of."
Akron (6-9) enters the matchup having dropped four straight matches and six of its last seven.
Buffalo (9-4) has won seven of its last eight matches and has looked strong under the tutelage of first year head coach and longtime University of Cincinnati coach Reed Sunahara. Junior middle blocker Amber Hatchett and junior outside hitter Megan Lipski have been contributing on both offense and defense, as Hatchett has 2.36 kills per set and 36 total blocks this season while Lipski has 2.65 kills per set and 2.70 digs per set.
Miami senior setter/outside hitter Meg Riley is coming off of a strong showing in the Miami Invitational with two triple-doubles and a double-double. Freshman outside hitter Olivia Rusek has been growing as a college player as she leads the team with 2.70 kills per set and contributed 1.95 digs per set.
Redshirt junior middle blocker Jenny Ingle and sophomore middle blocker Paige Hill have been big for the Red and White as they have accumulated 209 kills and 70 total blocks between them.
"We've been working on getting our offensive patterns to be more efficient and putting new twists in our offense that aren't yet on film," head coach Carolyn Condit said. "We're working on the bread and butter of volleyball, which is passing and serving with efficiency and consistency as well as putting the first ball down with our setters and right sides. We're looking forward to MAC play and the challenge that it presents and we feel pretty prepared from our nonconference schedule."
The RedHawks travel to Toledo to square off against the Zips 7 p.m Friday and face Buffalo 7:30 p.m. Saturday.