Miami volleyball kicked-off senior weekend at home with a win over Kent State in three straight sets on Friday and continued its dominance against Ohio University to win again in straight sets on Saturday.
The RedHawks improve to 19-8 overall and 11-3 in the Mid-American Conference after the weekend. The wins tie them with Bowling Green for first place in the conference. This was their second win of the season against Kent State and a revenge win against OU after losing 3-2 early in the season to the Bobcats.
The loss puts the Golden Flashes at 5-19 overall, 3-10 in the MAC. The Bobcats are now 14-14 overall and 8-6 in MAC play.
Even with the victory coming from consecutive sets on Friday, the ‘Hawks were challenged by the Golden Flashes in the first two sets, winning the first 26-24 and the second 25-23.
After Kent State scored three straight to start the third, Miami responded with a 5-0 run and dominated the rest of the set, winning 25-16.
“[Kent State] did some things differently tonight that we didn’t see on film,” Miami head coach Carolyn Condit said. “I’m proud of how smart they [Miami] are, how they made the adjustments and came back out and stopped the different look.”
RedHawks’ senior outside hitter Olivia Rusek led the way with a team-high 17 kills. She was also second on the team in digs, finishing with 15.
“I feel really great and super energized, and even more pumped to take on Ohio,” Rusek said.
Beside Rusek’s performance, senior libero Maeve McDonald led the team with 21 digs. Outside hitters Taylor Daignault and Stela Kukoc tied for second on the team with eight kills each.
On Senior Day, the RedHawks earned their third straight victory as they defeated the Ohio University Bobcats 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-13).
Sustained runs of dominant play, a 6-1 in the first set and an incredible 14-2 run in the final set gave the RedHawks a victory against their state rivals. Rusek once again dominated on the attack, leading the team with nine kills on the day. Daignault finished with 13 digs and three blocks.
Defensively, Miami forced Ohio into 22 attack errors, and also maintained the blocking advantage 10-9. Senior middle hitter Meredith Stutz was integral to the ‘Hawks victory, taking part in six of the team’s blocks (two solo, four assisted). The Bobcats only managed a .033 hitting percentage on the day.
“I really liked how we served tonight, we spread the offense around and we really shined in the blocking area,” Condit said. “There was a great sense of purpose tonight against a team that is very worthy, and we did not want to let them in the front door. I was especially pleased with how we closed out the third set.”
Next weekend, Miami closes its season on the road taking on Buffalo on Friday at 6 p.m. and Akron on Friday at 3 p.m.