When 7 p.m. struck on Friday, Jan 22, the Miami volleyball team was more than ready to begin the season.
“I heard a couple of our young women saying it seems like it’s been 12 years instead of just under 12 months,” head coach Carolyn Condit said. “I thought we might have a couple (of players) jump over the net, but we settled in.”
That they did, as the RedHawks won its first match of the season in three sets. The team claimed narrow margins in the first two sets, 25-18 and 25-22, respectively, but the RedHawks decisively won the third set, 25-10.
The win gave head coach Carolyn Condit her 750th win of her career, putting her in rare air with the all-time great Division I volleyball coaches. Condit is currently eighth among all current Division I coaches in career wins.
“I just want to give a shoutout to all the (alumni) out there that have earned so many wins, and most importantly, my amazing assistant coaches,” Condit said, “It’s been a great run with a lot of great people.”
The next night, Miami and Buffalo suited up again to play each other, with the RedHawks picking up another 3-0 win to sweep the series.
Although the results were the same as the previous night, the match couldn’t have been more different. Miami started out slowly, allowing the Bulls to rush out to an early 8-4 lead before Condit called a timeout.
After the stoppage, the RedHawks slowly clawed their way back before taking a 16-15 lead, their first of the match. The rest of the set was back and forth, as a kill by junior outside hitter Gaby Harper gave Miami a 26-24 first set win.
The second frame was back and forth, too, with the score deadlocked at 8-8 early on. The RedHawks took the lead thanks to three key serves from senior right side Sarah Wojick, including a service ace. The team won the set, 25-19, thanks to an ace from senior setter Morgan Seaman to close out the set.
The third frame was the hardest of the night for the ’Hawks, as the Bulls didn’t go down without a fight. Miami was up 15-13, but four kills from sophomore middle hitter Abby Leigh gave Buffalo a 20-17 lead.
After a side-out gave the serve back to the RedHawks, three straight serves by Seaman gave the team a 23-21 cushion. It was quickly lost, however, as the Bulls fought back to even the score.
A few plays later, the score was tied at 25 apiece, with Buffalo serving. A kill from junior outside hitter Sophie Riemersa gave Miami the serve back and a chance to win the game.
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With a serve from junior setter Jennifer Schulze, the ball was in play. At first, it appeared as if Leigh may have given the Bulls some life, with a kill to give the serve back to Buffalo. However, after a replay review, it was determined that Leigh made an attack error, giving the RedHawks a 3-0 win and a series sweep.
“I counted on Buffalo coming back the second match and playing their game, and they certainly did a great job tonight,” Condit said. “We were very fortunate to get out in three.”
Harper led the team with 11 kills in the second match. On Monday, she was named a Miami Athlete of the Week.
“She’s just a great athlete,” Condit said.
After the sweep, the RedHawks will continue their season with a two-game series against the Akron Zips on Jan. 28 and 29. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN3.