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RedHawks down two conference opponents

<p>Junior outside hitter Gaby Harper (pictured, no. 10) and senior libero Abigail Huser (pictured, in red) have made a big impact so far for the RedHawks.</p>

Junior outside hitter Gaby Harper (pictured, no. 10) and senior libero Abigail Huser (pictured, in red) have made a big impact so far for the RedHawks.

The Miami RedHawks continued their winning ways this past weekend. 

They started off strong Friday night at Millett Hall with a victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles in a rematch of last year’s Mid-American Conference championship game.

The RedHawks dropped one set in the match, winning 3-1. Junior right side hitter Sarah Wojick shined with a career-high 14 kills. She wasn’t alone in her stellar performance, as senior middle hitter Margaret Payne had 13 kills, and junior right side hitter Avarie Powell put up 11 kills.

Five different Miami players had double-doubles on the night, and Eastern Michigan was unable to handle the ’Hawks. 

After a Saturday off day, Sunday presented a whole new challenge, as the RedHawks welcomed in the MAC-leading Chippewas from Central Michigan. The Chippewas came in riding an 11-game win streak and proved to be a tough task to handle. 

The two squads battled through five sets, but Miami squeaked out a 3-2 victory.

“They focused in and they believed, and if you don’t believe, you don’t win,” head coach Carolyn Condit said after Saturday’s win.

In the first set, the game went back and forth until the RedHawks were finally able to pull away toward the end and won the first set, 25-16. 

The second set saw Miami struggle to find a rhythm, and Central Michigan took advantage of those errors. Miami fell into a deficit that it just couldn’t recover from, which led to it dropping the second set by a score of 25-18. 

Then, in the third set, all of the momentum swung toward the Central Michigan. The Chippewas kept Miami off-balance, and despite a late rally attempt, the deficit was just too great for the RedHawks come back from. Central Michigan took the set, 25-19. 

The fourth set saw a lot of intensity brought on from both sides. Hope quickly faded in the crowd as Central Michigan created a 15-7 lead for itself, but then the RedHawks went on a 13-5 run to take the lead, 20-19. 

They never looked back. A late surge from the Chippewas wasn’t enough, and Miami won the fourth set by a score of 25-23, forcing a decisive fifth set. 

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Using the momentum it gained in the fourth, Miami remained in control all the way through the final set to win the set, 15-8, and the match, 3-2.

Senior middle hitter Margaret Payne finished with a team-high 14 kills, and sophomore outside hitter Gaby Harper wasn’t far behind with 13. 

The win improves the team’s record to 11-8 overall and 6-2 in the MAC. It also boosts its win streak to four games. 

After a slow start to the season, Miami has really started to play well, claiming seven of its last nine.

Miami will be back in action, continuing its conference schedule this weekend. The RedHawks start Friday at Ball State with a 7 p.m. game on ESPN+. Then Saturday, they head to Toledo for an 8 p.m. game.