Michael Solomon, Staff Writer

The non-conference schedule for the Miami University volleyball team came to a close this weekend when the RedHawks hosted the Miami Best Western Invitational.

Miami went 1-2 on the weekend, dropping their record to 5-8 on the young season.

“We got off to a great start on Friday night, but then struggled to find our form the rest of the weekend,” Head Coach Carolyn Condit said. “The teams we played were bigger and taller than us, and each of them were well coached. We need to take what we can from the weekend into MAC play this upcoming weekend.”

Miami played in the first match of the invitational Sept. 17 against DePaul, looking to win their fourth match in five tries. The RedHawks made their move in the first match when the score was tied at nine, going on a 9-2 run that broke the game open. Sophomore Christina Menche got the run started with a couple of kills for Miami. DePaul got within 22-17, but they got no closer as the RedHawks ended the set with a 25-18 win.

The two teams played a close game in set two early on, but the Blue Demons were able to take a 17-12 lead late in the game. Two Jenn Caylor kills got Miami within 16-18, but the Blue Demons were able to pull away and tie up the match 1-1 with a 25-21 win. Senior middle Michelle Metzler got off to a fast start in game three with three kills in the first 16 points as Miami jumped out to an early 10-6 lead. Miami eventually pushed the lead to 19-11 and put the game away on a Caylor kill to win 25-17 and take a 2-1 lead. The fourth set stayed close in the beginning, but with the score in Miami’s favor at 9-8, the RedHawks scored five unanswered points to take a 14-8 lead. DePaul got close again at 17-20, but the RedHawks took the game 25-19 and the match 3-1. Metzler led the way for the Red and White with 16 kills, while Caylor added 15 against the Blue Demons.

The ‘Hawks took on the Illinois State Redbirds Saturday morning, looking to even up their record at 6-6. While they played a tough match, late runs by Illinois State in each of the three games was the difference maker, as the RedHawks fell 21-25, 18-25 and 21-25. Junior Amy Raseman, who was named to the all-tournament team, led the RedHawks with 11 kills against the Redbirds.

The toughest RedHawk match came Saturday night against the Indiana Hoosiers. The Hoosiers were able to take down Miami in three games, winning 12-25, 21-25 and 20-25. The loss dropped the RedHawks to 5-8 on the season heading into their first Mid-American Conference (MAC) matches in the coming weekend.

“This week we are going to focus on taking care of the ball and being smart decision makers,” Raseman said. “We played many physical opponents that were big blockers and hard hitters, this has helped our defense dig hard balls an our offense work on seeing the block.”

Miami heads to Buffalo for their first conference game Sept. 24 before visiting Akron Saturday night. Their first MAC home match will be at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Millett.