Miami University’s seven-game winning streak on the volleyball court came to an end Saturday by way of a gut wrenching five-setter.
The RedHawks turned away four match points in the decisive fifth frame before falling to Ball State University 18-16.
“It’s very emotional with all the ups and downs and no room for error,” senior hitter Emily Schroeder said.
Miami struggled out of the gate, dropping the first two sets of the match. Ball State grinded out the first frame with a close 26-24 and followed the performance with a 25-17 second-set win.
While the two teams were tied on 11 points of a first set that saw six lead changes, BSU never trailed in the second. Schroeder attributed the team’s opening struggles to hitters not making decisions at the top of their jumps.
Down 2-0 and facing their first loss in just under a month, the RedHawks came back into their first place form. They rallied with a 25-17 win in the third frame and a 25-11 crushing of the Cardinals in the fourth.
Heading into the tie breaker, Miami rode with all of the momentum over their then 9-14 opponents. The first place team had shaken off a slow start, eliminated a 0-2 deficit with two impressive victories and stood poised to take the match.
For reasons unknown to head coach Carolyn Condit, the RedHawks then fell back into their sloppy form from earlier in the match. The Ball State setter caught Miami off guard with several unexpected attacks and two RedHawk players collided while reaching for the ball in a set riddled with mistakes for the Red and White.
“Good teams don’t do that,” Condit said.
After the match, junior Andrea Atteberry was honored for recording her 3,000th career assist. She is only the fifth RedHawk to reach that mark. Although she was very excited about the award, Atteberry was also modest, giving the credit to her team.
“Andrea is like a Roethlisberger for us,” Condit said. “She is savvy and intelligent on the court and knows who to set.”
Miami began the weekend Friday with a 3-0 win over the University of Toledo. The ‘Hawks dominated the court in almost every category. They compiled 42 digs compared to the Rockets 26. Miami’s attack percentage was also an impressive 36 percent as opposed to Toledo’s 3.2 percent.
“This is one of the finest offenses Miami has run in 20 years,” Condit said.
The win marked Miami’s second consecutive 3-0 victory and its ninth of the season, capping a seven-game win streak for the red-hot ‘Hawks.
“We got to play so many younger players,” Condit said. “To beat Toledo in three straight sets shows a lot about our team.”
The RedHawks are now 14-8 overall and 8-2 in the MAC, looking to finish up the rest of their season strong so they can take momentum into the MAC tournament. Their next game is 7 p.m. Thursday against Bowling Green State University.