OXFORD, Ohio – In a dramatic, back-and-forth match that saw Northern Kentucky win the first two sets, the Miami University volleyball earned a come from behind, 3-2 (24-26, 26-28, 25-22, 25-21, 15-13) victory to win its third straight Miami Invitational crown. The RedHawks improve to 5-0 on the season, while the Norse fall to 2-4.
Sophomore middle hitter Jenny Ingle was named the Tournament MVP after recording a double-double with a career-high 21 kills and 10 blocks (two solo and eight assisted). For the tournament, she averaged 4.50 kills per set and had a hitting percentage of .508.
Joining Ingle on the All-Tournament Team were junior outside hitter/setter Meg Riley and junior libero Tori Clifford. Riley had her first triple-double of the season and ninth of her career on Saturday, finishing with 15 kills, 32 assists and 12 digs. She only made one attack error on 32 attempts for a hitting percentage of .438. Clifford continued to impress in the libero shirt, finishing with 22 digs against NKU. For the weekend she averaged an incredible 5.75 digs per set.
Set one featured 16 ties and four lead changes. Northern Kentucky led early on, but each time Miami would fight back to tie the score up. Finally, after a kill by Riley off of freshman setter Krista Brakauskas’ assist tied the score at 13, a kill from sophomore outside hitter Annie Reiswig put Miami in front, 14-13. The RedHawks eventually pushed the advantage to three, but a 6-2 run by the Norse gave them a 20-19 lead. NKU got it to set point at 24-22, but Miami fought it off with a kill from Reiswig and a service ace by senior libero Madison Hardy. After NKU called timeout, it scored the next two points to take a 26-24 win.
Set two was even more dramatic, as it featured 16 ties and seven lead changes, all late in the set. Northern Kentucky took an early 11-6 lead to force a RedHawk timeout. Out of the break, Ingle recorded two kills, while Brakauskas had back-to-back service aces as part of an 8-3 run that tied the score at 14. After the Norse scored the next point, a kill and service ace by Riley gave Miami its first lead in the set since it was 1-0.
NKU was able to establish a two-point lead at 19-17, but a block by Ingle and sophomore outside hitter Sarah Chaney, followed by a service ace from junior middle hitter Chelsea Visk tied the score at 19. The teams traded side outs over the next eight points until the Norse had set point at 24-23. Miami fought it off with a kill by Riley and then got a set point of its own when senior outside hitter Madison Dodd recorded a kill off of Riley’s assist. NKU was able to prevent the RedHawk win when it scored on the next point. After trading two more points, the Norse scored two straight to take a 28-26 victory and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Miami built an early 8-4 lead in set three with the help of three kills from freshman outside hitter Maris Below. Ingle continued her strong blocking when she teamed up with Reiswig for a stuff, but NKU responded with a 9-5 run to tie the score at 13. Tied at 17, a kill by Riley and a solo block from Ingle put the Red and White up by two and forced a Norse timeout. NKU came out the break with two straight points to tie the score once again. Tied at 20, a kill from Ingle, a block by Ingle and Below and a Northern Kentucky attack error gave Miami control at 23-20. The RedHawks finished off the 25-22 victory with a kill by Below.
Miami took a 5-1 lead in set four thanks to kills by Ingle and Reiswig, and a block by Ingle and Below. Below had three more kills and a block as the ‘Hawks eventually pushed the lead to 17-10. The seven-point advantage was the largest either team had in any set during the entire match. NKU answered with a 7-2 run that cut its deficit to two at 17-19. Reiswig stopped the run with another kill off of Brakauskas’ assist. In front 22-20, Ingle and Below had back-to-back kills to create set point. The Norse fought it off once, but another kill from Below finished off a 25-21 win and sent the match to a decisive fifth set.
Kills from Reiswig and Ingle and a Northern Kentucky attack error gave Miami a 3-0 advantage to begin set five. NKU followed with four straight points of its own to take the lead back. After back-to-back kills from Reiswig made it 5-4 in favor of the ‘Hawks, the Norse scored three straight to take a 7-5 advantage and force a Miami timeout. Trailing 6-8, a kill by Ingle and a service ace from Clifford tied the score. Tied at nine, a NKU attack error gave the lead back to Miami at 10-9. The teams would trade side outs over the next seven points until it was tied at 13. With the Norse serving, Miami got the eighth straight side out as Ingle put down a kill. The RedHawks then served for the match. After trading a pair of attacks, NKU hit the ball into the net to give Miami the point and the dramatic, 15-13, win.
Reiswig had a career-high 12 kills, while Below had her first career double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs. Brakauskas tied Riley for the team lead with 32 assists, while Hardy finished with 15 digs. Fittingly for how close of a match this was, the teams both finished with a hitting percentage of .243. Miami totaled 13 blocks for the match.
The RedHawks return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Xavier for a non-conference match that begins at 7 p.m.