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Regular Season Champions, red hot and ready: Miami hosts Mid-American Conference Tournament

If you asked head coach Carolyn Condit in July where her team would rank this season, she would have said she hoped to be in the top eight in the Mid-American Conference.

Even in the preseason MAC coaches' poll, the RedHawks were voted to finish fourth in the MAC East.

Well, the RedHawks shattered Condit's and the MAC coaches' expectations as back-to-back road wins brought the regular season conference championship to Oxford for the third straight year.

"It's great to know that our team worked so hard to get us in that position," Condit said. "But after this spring, I knew that even though we were going to have a young team, we were going to be able to put it all together."

Sitting with a final conference record of 13-3, Miami (21-7 overall) matches their conference record from last year when the team swept both Ohio and Western Michigan en route to Condit's eighth MAC Tournament crown.

The VolleyHawks head into this weekend's MAC tournament ranked second. They clinched a bye through the first two rounds after wins versus Kent State and Ohio University this past weekend.

Bowling Green received the No. 1 seed after tying Miami as regular-season champions and winning the head-to-head matchup against the RedHawks.

In the semifinals, Miami will face the winner of No. 3 Ball State versus No. 6/7 Northern Illinois/Ohio University.

With the double bye, the team gains an extra opportunity to scout, rest and get postseason jitters out of the way.

"We've earned [the double bye]," junior middle hitter Margaret Payne said. "It shows that our work throughout the season makes us deserve that first-round bye."

Being off the first two rounds isn't the only aspect of the tournament the RedHawks are looking forward to - Miami gets to play the postseason inside Millett Hall where they dominated with an 11-2 record this season.

"We will be able to go out and play as if it's another game," sophomore libero Abigail Huser said. "Having the homecourt, you have that confidence. You know how to play, you know the lights."

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But the road to the championship won't be easy. Miami has to potentially face Bowling Green for the third time this season. BGSU took both earlier meetings. On Nov. 1, the Falcons swept the RedHawks for their only loss at home during conference play.

"I hope we can play Bowling Green," Condit said. "Can they really beat us three times. That is going to be war."

The RedHawks hit the floor on Friday at 7 p.m. The game can be viewed on ESPN+.