In its final tournament before Mid-American Conference (MAC) play, the Miami University volleyball team fell to Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-22), Northwestern University 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-15) and the University of South Florida 3-1(25-15, 26-24, 20-25, 25-17) in the Wildcat Classic. The RedHawks (8-4) are now on their longest losing streak of the season and are without the services of freshman middle hitter Maris Below due to a stress fracture in her leg.
The first set against IUPUI (6-8) was a tight-knit affair for the majority of it until sophomore outside hitter Annie Reiswig posted back-to-back kills to clinch the set 25-23. The Jaguars tied the match 1-1 off of a 25-22 win, which saw an 11-3 run that Miami could not come back from. In the third set, the story was the same as the Jags got on a 10-4 run on their way to winning the set 25-17. The ‘Hawks held the advantage for the early part of the fourth set, holding a 19-14 lead until IUPUI went on a 6-2 run to tighten things up. The RedHawks could not muster enough offense as the Jaguars took the set and the match 25-22.
In the match, junior setter/outside hitter Meg Riley recorded her second triple-double of the season with 14 kills, 27 assists and 13 digs while freshman setter Krista Brakauskas posted a double-double with 25 assists and 10 digs.
Against Northwestern (7-4), the ‘Hawks would hold their own in the first set until Wildcat runs of 5-2 and 4-1 would eventually put the set away at 25-22. The second set started out much like the first with the two teams trading blows until the Wildcats mustered an 8-2 run to take the set 25-19. After falling down 2-7 in the third set, Miami generated a 7-2 run of its own. It would not be enough, however, as Northwestern reeled off a 10-4 run from which the RedHawks could not recover from, as they fell 25-15.
Reiswig led the RedHawks with eight kills during the match to go with her five digs and two assisted blocks, while Riley was not far off from a triple-double with six kills, 11 assists and six digs and junior libero Tori Clifford had a match-high 13 digs.
In the first set against USF (6-8), the RedHawks would quickly fall behind 3-7 and would not recover, as the Bulls would take the set 25-15. The second set was much more competitive as the teams would trade points until the set was tied 24-24 and USF put the set away off of a kill and an attack error by Riley. The ‘Hawks would jump out to a 9-3 lead in the third set and would not give the lead up as the set was won 25-20. In the fourth set, Miami tied it at 3-3 before a Bulls run of 5-2 proved to be too much as USF took the set 25-17.
Riley recorded her third triple-double of the season with 14 kills, 10 assists and 17 digs while Ingle posted 13 kills, a .480 hitting percentage and three blocks. Brakauskas recorded a double-double with 38 assists and 12 digs, and senior libero Madison Hardy had 24 digs while Reiswig got 11 kills on her way to being named to the All-Tournament team.
“Without Below, we had a difficult time with our ball control and passing,” head coach Carolyn Condit said. “Our serving errors hurt us [against Northwestern]. We struggled with some high level teams. I believe we learned a lot against good competition. [Freshman middle hitter] Paige Hill was able to play some this weekend and played great when she was in. Riley’s ability to play defense was encouraging and Reiswig played solid the whole weekend.”
Hardy spoke of what can be taken away from this weekend moving forward.
“It was a learning experience,” she said. “We saw what our weaknesses are and we saw what great role players we have, especially Reiswig. We faced more experienced, stronger teams this weekend. We weren’t as good as we can be and we’ll learn to fight. There’s strong competition in the MAC, so the teams we faced will have prepared us for them.”
The RedHawks make their return to Oxford this weekend as they open MAC play against Bowling Green State University 7 p.m. Thursday and Western Michigan University 5 p.m. Saturday.