By Chris Jones, For The Miami Student
The Miami University volleyball team concluded their West Coast road trip at the Wolf Pack Classic in Reno, Nevada this weekend by cranking out two hard-fought wins against Montana State University and Weber State University before ultimately falling to host University of Nevada.
Montana State (2-4) was Miami's first opponent and fell 3-2 (30-28, 17-25, 23-25, 25-22, 16-14) to the RedHawks. MU fell behind 8-14 in the first set, showing the lagging effects from such long travel. The Bobcats pushed their lead to 19-12, despite two kills from junior middle hitter Paige Hill and one from senior outside hitter Annie Reiswig.
Miami went on an 8-1 run to tie the score 20, capped by senior middle hitter Jenny Ingle's three defining kills. Back-to-back kills from Ingle and junior outside hitter Maris Below gave Miami a come-from-behind 30-28 win. Miami lost the next two sets before grinding out the final two to finish the match 3-2.
Sophomore right hitter Katie Tomasic finished with eight kills, while Below had six kills and 11 digs. Junior setter Krista Brakauskashad had a double-double with 21 assists and 13 digs, while freshman setter Mackenzie Zielinski led Miami with 28 assists.
The next match against Weber State was not as challenging. The RedHawks won 3-1 (25-22, 25-27, 25-11, 27-25), improving their winning streak to four games.
Once again, the travel lag seemed to affect the RedHawks, as they began the first set trailing 9-15. A block each from Ingle and Reiswig started the rally, and two kills from Tomasic pulled Miami within two. Trailing 17-20, Miami notched the next six points in a row, taking a 23-20 lead. An ace from sophomore middle hitter Olivia Rusek and another kill from Tomasic put the first set away, 25-22. Miami lost the next set before winning the final two.
Tomasic was the clear standout in an all-around good performance from Miami. She recorded a career-high 14 kills and made only one attack error in 26 attempts, totaling a .462 hitting percentage.
In the final match of the weekend against tournament host Nevada, Miami's four-game winning streak ended in straight sets. The RedHawks fell to Nevada 0-3 (13-25, 20-25, 21-25).
"We probably saw the best serving team we've ever faced," head coach Caroline Condit said of Nevada. "They were serving with high velocity and unbelievable placement and we did not pass as well against this team as we have against other teams."
Despite the loss, junior middle hitter Paige Hill was a bright spot for the team. Hill had a team-high 10 kills and made only one attack error in 21 attempts for a hitting percentage of .429.
"Paige Hill has been great for us," Condit said. "Even though we lost that three in a row to Nevada, she ended up having 10 kills and hitting .429. I just want to give her credit for being consistent on the court as she connects with our setters."
The team will need another big tournament from Hill as they welcome Northern Kentucky University, University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne to Millett Hall for their annual Miami Invitational this weekend.