Michael Solomon, Staff Writer

Senior middle hitter Michele Metzler goes up to spike the ball. (MICHAEL GRIGGS | The Miami Student)

After a young Miami University women’s volleyball team reached the semifinals last year in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament, the RedHawks will enter what looks to be a promising 2010 season confident despite the loss of four starters to graduation last fall. It’s never easy to replace four seniors on and off the court, but the Red and White believe they have the personnel to do so this season.

Enter Michele Metzler, a senior middle hitter on the team. Metzler has been a force in the middle for Miami ever since she stepped foot on campus, and now that she is one of two seniors on a young squad for Head Coach Carolyn Condit, the heavy reins of leading the team have fallen to her.

“The only difference I feel as a senior is a greater sense of urgency to accomplish all of my goals, such as going to the NCAA,” Metzler said. “Also, I feel more pressure to perform to the best of my ability every game and be a leader by example. I am happy to take on the challenge and hopefully will guide the team to its best season yet.”

Metzler first started playing volleyball in sixth grade when her friend made her try out for the school team. Basketball came first in middle school and freshman year of high school before she realized her potential in volleyball. Once volleyball started to get competitive in high school, it became the focus of her future.

“Ever since my freshman year of high school I knew I wanted to play in college,” Metzler said. “I love playing the game and wanted to continue as long as possible. I chose Miami because it was close to home, good academically and I liked all of the girls.”

The program knew they got a good player in Metzler, who was a two-time Second Team All- State selection junior and senior year at Lawrenceburg High School in Indiana. Metzler picked up right where she left off in high school when she got to Miami, racking up 234 kills and 95 blocks in 114 games. Her performance was good enough to be named the MAC Freshman of the Year, Miami’s first since 1994.

In two seasons since 2007, Metzler has totaled up 176 blocks and 481 kills for the RedHawks. She’s hoping that 2010 will be her best season yet, with the end result being a conference title and a MAC Player of the Year Award.

“I am putting more pressure on myself this year because I am a senior and this is the last time I can accomplish everything I want,” Metzler said. “I want to keep a high hitting and blocking percentage and I am chasing to be MAC Player of the Year, which is very ambitious considering all of the great players in the conference, but I am going to try.”