The Miami University volleyball team capped off a season full of ups and downs with a 0-3 (19-25, 23-25, 22-25) defeat at the University at Buffalo and its their seniors out with a 3-1 (33-31, 25-23, 22-25, 25-10) triumph over the University of Akron in Mid-American Conference (MAC) action.
The RedHawks (12-16, 4-12 MAC) conclude the season by winning two of their last four matches.
In the first set against Buffalo (17-11, 5-10), Miami fell into a 1-6 hole that it could not get out of as the Bulls took the set 25-19.
The following set was a much closer affair with 10 tied scores and five lead changes. With the score tied at 22-22, Buffalo went on a 3-1 run to go up in the match 2-0.
The third set was just as close with Buffalo nabbing two of the last three kills to sweep the match.
Freshman setter Krista Brakauskas recorded her 11th double-double of the season during the match with 17 assists and 10 digs. Freshman outside hitter Maris Below and redshirt sophomore middle hitter Jenny Ingle had team-highs in kills with seven apiece. Senior libero Madison Hardy tallied 16 digs on the night.
“We were outplayed [by Buffalo],” head coach Carolyn Condit said. “They had experience… Their hitters took advantage of the seams. We never played well. We had a lot of errors… It was a tough all-around match.”
The first set against Akron (8-19, 2-14 MAC) was a tight battle, with neither team able to pull away from each other until Miami took the set 33-31.
In the second set, the teams traded blows until a 5-0 run by the RedHawks pushed the lead to 19-14. Akron rallied to tie the set 23-23, but pulled away to take the set.
The Zips pushed the match into extra sets after a 25-22 win in the third set.
The ‘Hawks cruised in the fourth set as they went on a 22-6 spurt en route to a 25-10 finish.
Junior setter/outside hitter Meg Riley finished with a near triple-double as she had seven kills, 31 assists and 10 digs and Below had a double-double with 13 kills and 14 digs. Ingle led the team with 15 kills and a .435 hitting percentage. Hardy finished her college career with 28 digs in the match, 11 of which came in the first set, giving her 501 on the season. It is only one of five instances in which a Miami player recorded 500 or more digs in a season.
“Tonight was a lot of fun,” Condit said. “We had four players with double digit kills. Our middles and outsides hit well, unlike last night… We were digging great balls and had a great transition game… It was a good match for our seniors. This season, we didn’t have enough healthy players consistently. It was a tough season but we showed that we’re an enduring team and…. learning a lot. They never quit.”
Senior outside hitter Madison Dodd (LINK 7) agreed with her coach.
“We’re really excited about tonight,” she said. “It’s not too often that you get to finish the season with a win. We put it together tonight and we were a scrappy team. This season was not what we had hoped but we had a great season. We had great chemistry and despite our win-loss ratio it felt better than some seasons than we’ve had. This team will go far up and above in the future.”