OXFORD, Ohio – Behind a dominating performance from junior outside hitter/setter Meg Riley, the Miami University volleyball team downed Kent State, 3-1 (25-23, 25-18, 26-28, 25-21) Friday evening at Millett Hall. The RedHawks improve to 11-14 overall and 3-10 in the Mid-American Conference. The Golden Flashes fall to 12-14 overall and 6-7 in the MAC.
Riley had one of the best matches of her career on Friday. She tied a season-high with 19 kills and made it a double-double with 27 assists. She just missed a triple-double, finishing with eight digs. Riley didn’t have a single attack error in 28 attempts, for an incredible hitting percentage of .679.
Kent State jumped to a 6-3 advantage to begin set one. Three kills from freshman middle hitter Paige Hill and a service ace by freshman setter Krista Brakauskas were part of a 9-2 run that put Miami in front, 12-8. Despite a pair of kills from Riley, the Golden Flashes eventually fought back to tie the score at 17. Two straight service aces by sophomore outside hitter Annie Reiswig, along with one from senior libero Madison Hardy were part of a 7-2 run that gave the RedHawks set point at 24-19. Kent State nearly made the comeback by scoring the next four points, but a block by Hill and sophomore outside hitter Sarah Chaney gave Miami a 25-23 win.
Riley recorded two more kills as the ‘Hawks took a 7-3 lead in set two. Hill and Chaney each had a pair of kills to help Miami push the advantage to five at 12-7. Kent State was able to get as close as three at 14-17 before Riley once again took over. She scored three more kills as part of a 6-3 run that made it 23-17. The Golden Flashes recorded the next point, but back-to-back kills from sophomore middle hitter Jenny Ingle gave the RedHawks a 25-18 victory.
Set three featured 13 ties and five lead changes. Down 10-14, Ingle put down a kill off of Brakauskas’ assist. That started a 7-3 run that tied the score at 17. Freshman outside hitter Maris Below had two kills to help the ‘Hawks during that stretch. The teams traded side outs until KSU recorded two straight points to make it 21-19. Miami did not give up, eventually tying the match at 23. The Golden Flashes scored next to create set point, but the RedHawks fought it off. A service ace by Brakauskas gave Miami the first of two match points, but each time Kent State got the side out. Tied at 26, the Golden Flashes scored two straight to earn a 28-26 win.
Reiswig had two more service aces to help Miami jump to a 7-3 advantage in set four. Kent State closed to within one on numerous occasions, but three more kills from Riley helped the ‘Hawks keep the lead. Trailing 16-18, Kent State went on a 4-1 run to finally take a 20-19 advantage and force a Miami timeout. Out of the break, a kill from Hill off Riley’s assist and a setting error by the Golden Flashes gave the RedHawks the lead right back. KSU scored next to tie it at 21, but a kill and a block from Ingle started a 4-0 run that gave Miami a 25-21 victory in the set and a 3-1 win in the match.
As a team, Miami hit a season-best .294, while holding Kent State to a .223 hitting percentage. Hill finished with 12 kills, and made only one error in 24 attempts for a .458 hitting percentage. Below had a double-double with 10 kills and 12 assists. Brakauskas led the RedHawks with 32 assists, while Hardy had 25 digs.
Miami has its home finale on Saturday when it welcomes Ohio to Millett Hall. It is Senior Day and prior to the match, Hardy and senior outside hitter Madison Dodd will be honored in a prematch ceremony.