Michael Bloom

Junior Maria Leahy bumps an Ohio slam Sunday in Miami’s 3-0 romp. After starting 7-7, the ‘Hawks are back on pace to successfully defend their conference title.

The Miami University women’s volleyball team defeated two conference rivals without dropping a single set.

Coming into family weekend losing five of the past six matches, the RedHawks bumped off their woes and spiked home 3-0 victories over Kent State University and Ohio University.

“The girls played great this weekend,” head coach Carolyn Condit said. “I think we really started to come together as a team.”

Friday night’s game against Kent State was quick and easy, lasting just more than an hour, leaving plenty of time for family members to catch any uptown dinner reservations. Junior Megan Griffin led the ‘Hawks offensive attack with 12 kills, and a .857 attack percentage, leading to 17 Miami points. Typically, better players average attacking percentages in the .300s.

Senior Emily Schroeder laid the foundation for the team’s defense with nine defensive digs, holding the Golden Flashes’ offense to a measly .082 attack percentage.

“Friday’s win against a good Kent State squad provided our team with a lot of momentum heading into the OU game,” Condit said.

Sunday’s meeting between Miami and Ohio University marked the beginning of a new year in the on-going MAC rivalry. Ohio, which at one point held a 15 match winning streak against Miami, lost to the ‘Hawks in the 2007 conference championship game, ending its run as MAC conference champions and adding fuel to the already burning rivalry.

With a 2-0 set lead, the ‘Hawks took two crucial final points to hold on and win the third set 25-23. Junior Andrea Atteberry and senior Melissa Zenz provided the offensive and defensive leadership en route to the straight-set victory. Atteberry, who led the team with 35 assists in Friday’s victory, maintained her high level of play with a 32-assist performance Sunday.”

“Every game is the most important game of the season,” Atteberry said. “(The sweep is) a big weekend for our team.”

Condit was certainly satisfied with Atteberry’s play over the weekend.

“Andrea is very poised and experienced,” Condit said. “She does a great job running our offense out there…She’s like our quarterback.”

Zenz, who recently recorded her 1,000th career dig, added to her career total with 15 more digs on Sunday, bolstering a defense that held the Bobcats to a .178 attack percentage.

“Every time OU got momentum, we were able to come right back,” Zenz said.

The win improved Miami’s record to 9-7 on the season, and, more importantly, 3-1 in conference play. Resulting from the weekend, Miami now stands in first place of the eastern division.

“Ohio has a great team,” Condit said. “A couple of their key girls graduated last year, and they have a new coach. They are still trying to find their identity as a team. You are starting to see Ohio on the way down, and Miami on the way up.”