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RedHawks limp to non-conference finish line

Ohio State (5-5) beat Miami (5-6) again — this time, in volleyball. The RedHawks continued their struggle against their Big 10, in-state rival on Thursday, as they lost their seventh consecutive match against the Buckeyes. The ’Hawks are 4-12 against Ohio State all-time.

The rough start to the weekend continued on Friday afternoon with another sweep at the hands of the Dayton Flyers. Miami left on a high note after taking down Illinois State, 3-1, on Friday evening. 

Avarie Powell killing her position change

With an injury to Haley Stewart, Miami was desperate for someone to step up in the middle to aid senior Margaret Payne.

Enter junior Avarie Powell, originally listed as a right side hitter.

An ACL tear erased her freshman season, and she only managed to record four kills her sophomore season. 

She was put back as a middle hitter by head coach Carolyn Condit at the start of the season, hoping to fill big shoes left by the injured captain.

This move looks genius after the Buckeye Invitational, as Powell stepped up with 31 total kills over three matches. The loss against Ohio State on Thursday evening was the first time she tallied double-digit kills (13). 

Powell continued to roll on Friday, gathering six kills in the loss against Dayton. Later in the day, she provided another 12 in the victory over Illinois State.

Not everyone can regain former athletic prowess after a significant knee injury, but the four-year letterwinner from Middleton, Indiana is looking like another weapon for Condit’s RedHawks.

A confusing start

Non-conference play is a great time to figure out what type of team a coach has. 

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However, from a fan’s perspective, the under-.500 start looks odd from the preseason MAC favorite RedHawks. 

The Ohio State match had the aspects of a real battle, but the RedHawks fell short. Dayton dominated and played like a machine. The win over Illinois State was a good rebound.

So, what is going on with Miami? Is it a contender? Should the fans be concerned, or does this team contain championship pedigree like those past?

The answers will start to flow once Miami starts conference play on Friday against Kent State.

Right now, the team is hard to gauge.

Call the five-O: Miami has weapons

With Powell assumed to now be consistently on the frontlines for the ’Hawks, the veteran core is stacked. Sophomore outside hitter and pep band favorite Gaby Harper is continuing on the path that made her a standout freshman. Payne … is bringing the pain in the middle.

Senior libero Lindsay Dauch and junior Abigail Huser hold down the defense. Dauch has 41 digs this season, while Huser paces the team with 104.

Freshmen outside hitters Lindsay Taylor and Allyson Severance have shown flashes of brilliance, while the setters, sophomore Louise Comerford and junior Morgan Seaman, always look like they know where they should be. 

Add the precision of Sophie Reimersma and the unadulterated rage behind one of Sarah Wojick’s spikes, and the RedHawks look poised to make another run at the Mid-American Conference title.