OXFORD — The Miami University volleyball team continued to make history with its 17th victory in a row, a 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 26-24) win over Ball State Saturday (Oct. 22) evening. The RedHawks improve to 18-4 overall and 10-0 in the Mid-American Conference. The Cardinals fall to 9-15 overall and 5-5 in the MAC.
The 2016 Miami volleyball squad now owns the second-longest win streak in school history. It will have the chance to match the record of 18 in its next contest. That record was set from Oct. 1-Nov. 4, 1980. The RedHawks controlled Saturday’s match the majority of the way. Miami finished with a .317 attack percentage, led by junior right side hitter Katie Tomasic. She recorded 11 kills and made only two errors in 19 attempts for a .474 hitting night. Defensively, the Red and White held Ball State to only a .111 attack percentage.
Tomasic had two kills off assists from sophomore setter Mackenzie Zielinski, while senior middle hitter Paige Hill and sophomore outside hitter Stela Kukoc each put down one to help Miami open up a 9-1 lead to begin set one. Kukoc recorded a solo block, while a kill from junior middle hitter Meredith Stutz and a block from Tomasic and Hill made it 18-11 and forced a Cardinal timeout. Out of the break, a kill from Tomasic and a solo block by Hill kept the RedHawks momentum going. Yet another block, this time from sophomore middle hitter Courtney Simons and senior outside hitter Maris Below, along with a kill from junior right side hitter Olivia Rusek finished off a 25-17 win.
Two more blocks from Tomasic, along with kills from Tomasic and Hill were part of an 11-3 start to begin set two. Ball State answered with a 6-4 run to pull within six at 15-9. A kill from Tomasic off an assist from senior setter Krista Brakauskas got the `Hawks offense moving again. Leading 19-13, a kill from Hill and two straight service aces by Brakauskas put the score out of reach. Freshman middle hitter Haley Stewart closed out a 25-16 victory with a kill.
The Cardinals held a 9-7 lead early in set three. Two kills from Below were part of a 6-0 run that gave Miami a 13-9 lead. Ball State fought back with a 9-4 run that put it back in front, 18-17. A solo block and a service ace from Kukoc gave the advantage right back to the RedHawks. The teams kept going back and forth until the score was tied at 22. A BSU attack error and a kill from Tomasic gave Miami match point at 24-22. The Cardinals did not give up, scoring two in a row to retie the score. The `Hawks followed up with a kill from Hill to get another match point. This time Ball State hit its attack long to give MU a 26-24 win another straight set victory.
Tomasic had four blocks (one solo and three assisted to go with her 11 kills). Below finished with nine kills, while Rusek had eight and Hill and Kukoc each recorded six. Hill had five blocks (one solo and four assisted to lead the RedHawks, while Zielinski finished with a team-high 22 assists. Junior libero Maeve McDonald led the way with 16 digs.
As a team, Miami finished with 10 blocks, compared to two for Ball State.
The RedHawks were scheduled to return to action on Thursday when they host Bowling Green for a 7 p.m. match.
Miami is hosting an important match against Northern Illinois on Saturday. To ensure fans have the opportunity to see it and also see the hockey team take on Bowling Green at 7:05 p.m., the start time has been moved up to 5 p.m. from its originally scheduled 7 p.m. start.