OXFORD, Ohio - The second-to-last week of Mid-American Conference play sees the Miami University volleyball team with a pair of home matches this weekend. The RedHawks host Akron on Friday at 7 p.m. and will then take on Buffalo on Saturday at 5 p.m. Both matches will be available on Miami All-Access.
TOURNAMENT QUALIFICATION: A 1-1 record last weekend leaves Miami at 4-8 in MAC. The RedHawks are currently ninth in the conference and looking to finish in the top eight to qualify for the MAC Tournament that takes place Nov. 16-18 at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Miami is only one match behind the current eighth place team, which is Eastern Michigan at 5-7. The 'Hawks have the tiebreaker over the Eagles due to a 3-0 win on Oct. 13. With some wins and help over the next couple of weeks, Miami can move up even further as Central Michigan and Ball State are only two matches up in a tie for sixth at 6-6. The RedHawks have the tiebreaker over the Cardinals because of a Oct. 20, 3-2, victory, but do not have the tiebreaker over the Chippewas.
UP NEXT: The final week of conference play next week will determine Miami's MAC Tournament fate. On Thursday, Nov. 8, the RedHawks will host Bowling Green at 7 p.m. That match will be Senior Night with Amy Kendall, Christina Menche and Lisa Treadway being honored in a pre-match ceremony. Miami will then hit the road for its final league match of the season when it heads to Western Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 10 for a 7 p.m. contest.
ABOUT AKRON: The Zips enter Friday's match at 14-10 overall and 7-5 in the MAC. They have had a remarkable turnaround from the 2011 season where they finished 4-25 overall and only 1-15 in conference play. Akron has won four straight matches, including both contests last week. It defeated Buffalo on the road, 3-1, on Thursday, before taking out Toledo at home in straight sets on Saturday. The Zips are led offensively by senior middle hitter Tina Dimitrijevs. She has 278 kills on the season, an average of 3.16 per set. She has an impressive hitting percentage of .362. Defensively, Akron is led by sophomore Jill Paluch. She has 375 kills, an average of 4.26 per set.
THE SERIES AGAINST THE ZIPS: Miami holds a 34-13 lead in the all-time series with Akron. The Zips came away with a dramatic, 3-2, victory over the RedHawks on Sept. 29 in Akron. Miami had a 2-1 lead in the match before Akron came back to win the last two sets, 25-21 and 15-8. Meg Riley just missed a triple-double in the match with 18 kills, 19 assists and nine digs. Madison Dodd also had a double-double for Miami, finishing with 10 kills and a career-high 17 digs.
ABOUT BUFFALO: The Bulls are 8-16 overall and 2-10 in the MAC. They have lost three straight matches, including a 1-3 defeat against Akron last Thursday and a 2-3 loss to Ball State on Saturday. Buffalo will play a match at Bowling Green on Friday before taking on the RedHawks on Saturday. The Bulls are led offensively by sophomore outside hitter Liz Scott. She has 270 kills in 2012, an average of 3.03 per set. Defensively, Buffalo's top player is junior libero Kelly Svoboda. She has 292 digs, an average of 4.56 per set.
THE SERIES AGAINST THE BULLS: Miami holds a 22-5 lead in the all-time series with Buffalo. However, the Bulls earned a straight-set victory over the RedHawks earlier this season on Sept. 28 in Buffalo. Buffalo won each of the three sets by only two points (27, 25. 25-23, 25-23). Amy Kendall had a double-double for Miami with 21 assists and 10 digs in the match.