Michael Solomon, Staff Writer

Michele Metzler goes up for a spike during a game at Millett Hall. (MICHAEL GRIGGS | The Miami Student)

The early season schedule for the Miami University women’s volleyball team is no easier Sept. 3 and 4 when they head to Lexington for the Kentucky Classic.

After facing top programs in Belmont, Memphis and Jacksonville State Aug. 27 and 28 in Nashville, the Red and White have Ohio State, South Florida (USF) and Kentucky looming this weekend, which will be no easy task. Although they finished last weekend in Nashville with a 1-2 record, the ‘Hawks are looking to last week’s play to benefit this weekend.

“I’m looking for players to use their experience and confidence that they got from playing at Belmont and use it this weekend,” Miami Head Coach Carolyn Condit said. “Although we didn’t finish last weekend the way we would have liked, I think our girls gained a lot from the matches we played in.”

Every team presents a new challenge, and Ohio State, Kentucky and South Florida are no different. They have big blocks and strong hitters while running a faster-paced offense.

“We will be facing some tough competition this weekend,” senior middle Michele Metzler said. “Kentucky is ranked number 14 in the country, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Pre-Season Poll. They will have a big block and effective hitters that will pose a challenge to us. Ohio State and USF will have very strong hitters and faster offenses than what we experienced last weekend.”

The key this weekend is going to be ball control and getting a first ball kill, something that the RedHawks have been working on in practice this week.

“We really want to be efficient when we get a good pass, so that we can put the first ball down,” Condit said. “We have worked on ball control in practice this week, so I am really looking for our passing and serving to be better this weekend. These teams are tall and will put up a good block, so ball control will be key for us.”

Miami opens Sept. 3 against Kentucky before facing South Florida and Ohio State Sept. 4. Miami’s next game is their home opener Sept. 8 against Wright State.