By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
The Miami University volleyball team (7-5) had a strong showing in the Miami Invitational this weekend after defeating Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis 3-1 (25-22, 27-25, 20-25, 25-20) and the University of Alabama-Birmingham 3-0 (31-29, 25-20, 25-18) before falling to Ohio State University 3-1 (25-20, 26-28, 16-25, 17-25). The RedHawks had strong showings throughout the tournament as senior setter/outside hitter Meg Riley and sophomore middle blocker Paige Hill made the All-Tournament team. Riley had 30 kills, 70 assists and 35 digs in three matches. Hill tallied 16 blocks and was named MAC East Player of the Week.
"We wanted to win our tournament," head coach Carolyn Condit said. "We were capable of winning [against Ohio State] and we let it go by us. If we could have won game two, there isn't any doubt that we would've won the match. I'm pleased with our wins against IUPUI, which had good passing and ball control, and UAB."
Hill also commented on the weekend and her performance in the tournament.
"The tournament went pretty well overall," Hill said. "Our team chemistry was better than it was last weekend and we worked hard all week in practice to have a successful weekend. We need to be more consistent and focus on the minute details, like keeping the ball in play. I worked to the best of my ability and stayed within myself and played my role. I've been working on my blocking and it definitely showed."
Miami surged past IUPUI with a triple-double from Riley (13 kills, 26 assists, 10 digs) and double-digit kills from redshirt junior middle blocker Jenny Ingle, Hill and freshman outside hitter Olivia Rusek
Riley and Rusek kept up their level of play against UAB as Rusek picked up 10 kills while Riley barely missed a triple-double with seven kills, 24 assists and 15 digs.
After a tightly-knit first set, the Miami offense exploded as Rusek had six kills and junior outside hitter Annie Reiswig had five in the second. With the score set at 5-5 in the third, the home team went on a 20-13 run despite hitting .147 in the set.
Against Ohio State, Riley, Rusek and Reiswig all record double digit kills while Riley picked up a triple-double with 20 assists and 10 digs.
The Red and White won the first set by outhitting OSU .394-.237 and outblocking them 4-0, but struggled to muster any other consistent offense as Ohio State won the next three sets.
"We need to find more consistency for longer periods of time, Condit said. "We had great hustle on defense and we did a good job blocking and lining up. We need to focus on our passing, serving, and defending creative offense, such as off-speed. It was an exciting atmosphere with our great crowd and the support that we got from other athletic teams."
The RedHawks now turn their attention to MAC play as they open conference action on the road at the University of Akron 7 p.m. Friday and the University at Buffalo 7:30 p.m. Saturday.