Photo by Phill Arndt
By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
The Miami University volleyball team split matches for the third straight weekend as it took Mid American Conference East-leading Ohio University to five sets before falling 2-3 (18-25, 25-21, 25-20, 16-25, 8-15) Friday and swept Kent State University 3-0 (25-17, 28-26, 25-17) Saturday.
The RedHawks (10-8, 3-3 MAC) are currently tied for second place in the MAC East with the University at Buffalo (13-7, 3-3 MAC) holding the tiebreaker.
"We did a good job of coming together this weekend with several individuals stepping up in pressure moments," head coach Carolyn Condit said. "Meg Riley had a great weekend for us and played a total game offensively and defensively. Krista Brakausas had great ball location and a great work ethic on defense and she's really coming along. What I liked was that we were always fighting this weekend and it's significant that we swept a Kent State team that had more experience. Maeve McDonald had a total weekend as a libero and Maris Below had very good ball control and they form a strong duo and make our offense better. It's important that we have some momentum and we're determined to get two wins this weekend."
Against Ohio (13-4, 6-0 MAC), both freshman outside hitter Olivia Rusek and junior outside hitter Annie Reiswig recorded double-digit kills on the night. Rusek led the team with 15 while Reiswig was second with 13. Senior setter/outside hitter Meg Riley barely missed out on a triple-double as she had nine kills, 19 assists and 14 digs while sophomore setter Krista Brakauskas registered a double-double with 24 assists and 15 digs. Freshman libero Maeve McDonald kept up her high level of play as she tallied 26 digs.
Miami struggled mightily on offense in the first set, hitting .044, while the Bobcats hit .200. The 'Hawks then rallied to take the next two sets as they outhit the 'Cats .222-.116 and .295-.156 respectively. Rusek accounted for nine kills in the sets and the tandem of Reiswig and senior outside hitter Sarah Chaney picked up six kills each.
It was all Ohio from that point on as it outhit the home team .444-.171 in the fourth set and .389-.048 in the fifth. The Bobcats were powered by a strong defense as they had 14 more digs and seven more total blocks than the Red and White.
Reiswig led all scorers against Kent State (10-9, 2-4 MAC) as she had 11 kills, while Rusek and junior middle blocker Jenny Ingle had eight each. Riley and Brakauskas accounted for 44 of the team's 45 assists.
Miami outclassed the Flashes in every facet, outhitting them .281-.143, recorded 15 more assists, three more service aces (KSU had none) and 10 more digs on the night.
"It was a great weekend for us," Brakauskas said. "We played great competition against Ohio and Kent State. It was a great game, five sets against Ohio, and we'll get them at their house. We need to focus on staying strong for the whole match and coming out excited and we can pick up two more wins."
The RedHawks hit the road this weekend as they take on Eastern Michigan University Friday and Central Michigan University Saturday in MAC action.