ATHENS, Ohio - After a pair of heartbreaking losses to two of the Mid-American Conference preseason favorites, the Miami University volleyball team hits the road for another pair of challenging matches. On Friday, the RedHawks take on 20th-ranked Ohio in Athens at 7 p.m. for the annual “Battle of the Bricks.” Miami then heads to Kent State Saturday for a match against the Golden Flashes at 7 p.m.
CONGRATULATIONS MADISON: Late in the fourth set against Western Michigan last Saturday, senior libero Madison Hardy recorded her 22nd dig of the match. That broke Melissa Zenz’s (’09) all-time career record of 1,481 digs when liberos are included. Hardy finished the match with 24 digs and now has 1,484 for her career.
RANKED FOES: When Miami takes on Ohio, it’ll be the first time since Sept. 1, 2012 when the RedHawks take on a member of the AVCA Top 25. In that match, Miami fell to 16th-ranked Minnesota in straight sets. The ‘Hawks last beat a ranked opponent on Sept. 6, 2008, when they beat 10th-ranked Wisconsin, 3-1.
ABOUT OHIO: The Bobcats are 12-2 on the season and 2-0 in the MAC. They are currently ranked 20th in the latest AVCA national coaches’ poll. Ohio has already defeated two ranked teams this season, including defeating eighth-ranked Oregon, who was last season’s National Runner-Up, in straight sets on Aug. 31. Its only two losses this year were also to ranked opponents, and both in five sets. Last weekend, the Bobcats began MAC play with a 3-1 win at Buffalo on Friday and a straight set victory over Akron on Saturday. They are led by junior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti. She has 163 kills, an average of 3.26 per set.
THE SERIES AGAINST THE BOBCATS: Miami leads the all-time series with Ohio, 44-29. The Bobcats have won six straight against the RedHawks however, including both matches last season. On Sept. 22 in Oxford, Ohio came away with a straight-set victory. The teams met again on Oct. 26 in Athens. Miami earned a 25-15 victory in the second set, but the Bobcats won the other three to earn a 3-1 win. Meg Riley led the ‘Hawks with 12 kills, 17 assists, eight digs and four blocks.
ABOUT KENT STATE: The Golden Flashes are 7-8 overall and 1-1 in the MAC. After finishing 6-22 last season, they have already exceeded that win total. Last weekend, Kent State beat Akron in five sets on Friday before falling in four sets to Buffalo on Saturday. It also fell to Youngstown State, 1-3, in non-conference action on Tuesday. The Golden Flashes are led by freshman outside hitter Bianca Cifaldi. She has 178 kills on the season, an average of 3.02 kills per set.
THE SERIES AGAINST THE GOLDEN FLASHES: Miami leads the all-time series with Kent State, 54-15. The teams split their two meetings last season, each winning on the road. On Sept. 21 in Oxford, the Golden Flashes took a five-set victory in a back-and-forth match. It spoiled a great match from Meg Riley, who had 21 kills, 21 assists, eight digs and hit .459. The RedHawks got their revenge on Oct. 27 in Kent with a 3-1 win. Riley led the way once again with 14 kills and 18 assists.