Miami University volleyball is back in full swing after a less-than-stellar start to the year.
Without a doubt, all focus is on finishing strong and grinding toward the postseason. After a weekend where the RedHawks (13-8, 8-2) swept both Ball State (11-10, 5-4) and Toledo (7-15, 0-10), they also gained first place in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division and are currently tied with Central Michigan in overall MAC play.
The weekend leaders included senior middle Margaret Payne with 23 kills over the two matches, junior setter Morgan Seaman with 41 assists and senior defensive specialist Taylor Daignault with 30 total digs.
A refreshed look
This is the healthiest Carolyn Condit’s team has been since the start of the season.
The list of players who have missed some time due to injuries this season are Daignault, Haley Stewart, Gaby Harper and Sophie Reimersma.
With everyone back, the RedHawks have gone on a six-match win streak, with three of those being sweeps.
The question now: Who is going to put the team on their shoulders and snatch the Mid-American Conference away from all challengers?
Early season record = late season issues?
Now, this could just be an overblown observation, but there is nothing mind-blowing about the RedHawks’ record.
Non-conference play is a different animal, for sure, but the mediocre start to the season has only recently been shrugged off.
Miami went 5-6 before entering MAC play. Injuries surely did not help but, perhaps, this bumpy start could have shown others how to beat this team.
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To be fair, the ’Hawks have a history of going on a ridiculously long winning streak when entering conference play, which explains why they have been among the favorites to win the conference every year in recent memory.
However, if the blueprint is there for other teams to follow to beat Miami, it will be interesting to see which fine tunings Condit makes before season’s end.
Gimme the hot sauce
Don’t look now, but that front line of Miami is still hot.
Of course, Payne always seems to be in the right position at all times. Her team-leading 198 kills doesn’t do her presence on the court its full justice.
Harper is chugging right along, showing that her freshman year was no fluke. Although injuries have kept her sidelined on occasion, Harper’s sophomore slump is nowhere to be seen.
Junior middle Avarie Powell and junior outside hitter Sarah Wojick haven’t let up their prime-time play since gaining elevated playing time due to injury. The duo scored in a multitude of ways and combined for 46.5 total points (more than a third of the team’s 123) over the two matches this past weekend.
The RedHawks and their powerful frontline will face dreaded rival Ohio at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1 in Millett Hall. They hope to avenge an early season loss to the Bobcats.