ST. LOUIS – For the third straight match it took five sets, but the Miami University volleyball team won the Billiken Challenge with a 3-2 (25-16, 27-25, 19-25, 16-25, 15-9) victory over Youngstown State Saturday evening. It is the third straight tournament the RedHawks have won to begin the 2013 season. Miami improves to 8-1 on the year, while the Penguins fall to 4-6.
Playing in front of her hometown for the first time in college, junior outside hitter/setter Meg Riley was named the Tournament MVP. Against YSU, she had another double-double, finishing with 12 kills and 22 assists. She just missed a triple-double, finishing with eight digs. Riley had a double-double in all three matches.
Joining Riley on the All-Tournament Team were sophomore outside hitter Annie Reiswig and freshman setter Krista Brakauskas. Reiswig finished with 13 kills against the Penguins and had 34 kills for the tournament. Brakauskas set a new career-high with 34 assists Saturday evening and finished with 94 assists over the weekend, an average of 6.27 assists per set.
Youngstown State scored the first four points of the match to open set one. Miami responded by scoring six straight points of its own to take the lead. Sophomore middle hitter Jenny Ingle contributed three straight blocks (one solo, two assisted) on the final three points of the run. With the Penguins in front 10-9, a kill and another block from Ingle, along with a service ace by junior middle hitter Chelsea Visk were part of a 7-1 run that put Miami in control at 16-11. With the score 19-14, Miami closed with a 6-2 run to finish off a 25-16 win, getting the final point on a service ace from freshman outside hitter Maris Below.
Kills by Visk and Ingle, followed by a block from Ingle put the RedHawks up 3-0 to begin set two. Brakauskas and Riley each recorded kills as Miami took the advantage to 6-3. YSU responded with a 7-3 run to go in front, 10-9. The lead was traded back-and-forth five times until a 4-0 run from the Penguins put them up, 21-18. The ‘Hawks did not give up as kills from senior outside hitter Madison Dodd, Riley and Ingle were part of a 5-1 answer that put Miami back ahead, 23-22. With the score tied at 25, back-to-back kills from Below and Dodd gave the Red and White a 27-25 victory.
Tied at four in set three, kills from Ingle, Riley and Visk were part of a 4-2 run that put Miami in front, 8-6. Youngstown State responded with a 9-4 run that put it in front, 15-12. While Ingle, Dodd and Riley each had kills, the RedHawks could never get the score any closer than two points as the Penguins eventually pulled away for a 25-19 win.
Youngstown State jumped to a 12-3 lead to begin set four. A pair of kills from Ingle and one from Reiswig helped pull the RedHawks to within seven at 9-16, but the Penguins responded with a 6-2 run to make it an 11-point score at 22-11. Below recorded two more kills, but the advantage was too great as the Penguins earned a 25-16 victory and sent the match to a decisive fifth set.
The teams traded side outs for the first 11 points as Youngstown State took a 6-5 lead. A block by the Penguins gave them a two-point advantage, but kills from Dodd and Ingle tied up the score.
Youngstown State took an 8-7 advantage, but kills from Dodd and Ingle off of Riley assists gave the RedHawks their first lead of the set. Miami kept on the pressure, scoring the next three points to push the advantage to 11-8. The Penguins scored to pull within two, but followed with an attack error. A service ace by senior libero Madison Hardy, followed by a solo block and kill from Below finished off the 15-9 win and gave Miami another tournament championship.
Ingle led the RedHawks with 16 kills, while Below had 10. Hardy had a season-high 29 digs. Miami hit .228 for the match, while holding Youngstown State to a .215 hitting percentage.
The RedHawks finish non-conference tournament play with the Wildcat Classic next weekend. Miami opens against IUPUI on Friday at 11 a.m. (EDT), and take on the host Northwestern at 8 p.m. (EDT), later that night. On Saturday, the ‘Hawks finish play against USF at 9 p.m. (EDT).