Michael Solomon, Senior Staff Writer

(MICHAEL GRIGGS | The Miami Student)

After weeks of seeing the same faces on each side of the net, the Miami University volleyball team is ready to face some different opponents. They will get their chance this weekend when they head to Nashville, Tenn. for the Belmont Invitational.

The 2009 RedHawks got off to a slow start, but caught their stride during Mid-American Conference (MAC) play late in the season to end up at 17-14 overall. Losing four seniors from that team is tough, but after a great spring showing by the 2010 roster, the team is confident that they have the talent to be a force in the MAC and earn an NCAA berth this upcoming season.

The road starts in Nashville against potential NCAA tournament opponents in Belmont, Jacksonville State and Memphis. While all three teams will be tough opponents, the ‘Hawks believe that if they play their style they will have a good chance to come out on top.

“We try to keep every opponent in our mind as the same as the next or the last,” sophomore setter Amy Kendall said. “We can’t be thinking to ourselves about the big programs we are playing. We just have to go out there and play our game, and if we do that, I think we have a good chance.”

Many thought this would be a rebuilding year for the team. Losing 2009 seniors Andrea Atteberry, Maria Leahy, Hallie Hanks and Megan Griffin hurt, but gaining new leaders during the spring and the summer has the RedHawks feeling reloaded and confident going into the season.

“We had leaders step up at every position this offseason,” Head Coach Carolyn Condit said. “It’s amazing, but I think we even have more leadership this year with a younger team than we did last year. A lot of players have stepped into their roles, which is great to see as a coach. We had a great preseason and I think we are ready for this weekend.”

The RedHawks will participate in the Kentucky Classic Sept. 3 and 4 before returning to Oxford for their first home match against Wright State Sept. 8.