Nov. 12, 2005
OXFORD, Ohio--In its final regular-season home match, Miami University's volleyball team pulled out a dramatic five-game win against Kent State University, 30-19, 30-26, 26-30, 30-32 and 15-13, on Saturday evening. Miami moved to 16-11 on the season and finished Mid-American Conference play at 9-7, while Kent State dropped to 9-19 overall and 4-12 in MAC play.
Miami's 16 wins are the most since the 1999 squad posted a 16-13 mark.
Behind a sizzling .500 team hitting percentage, including a scorching .714 percentage by sophomore outside hitter Kate Norris (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard), Miami took a 1-0 lead in the match with a 30-19 game-one win. Kent State used two back-to-back service aces by Anja Knabe-Paulsen and one from Katie Mang to take an 8-7 edge. After a 9-9 tie, freshman outside hitter Alex Ratcliff (Champaign, Ill./Champaign Central) powered a kill to hand Miami the lead for good. A service ace by Ratcliff and a kill by senior outside hitter Kristen Walters (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee) pushed the MU lead to nine, 25-16. Kills by sophomore middle hitter Carli Reihman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline Academy) and Norris iced the game for the RedHawks, 30-19.
The teams went back and forth throughout much of the second game. Danielle Holt put away a kill to knot the game, 17-17, but kills by Walters and Norris handed Miami the lead for good, 19-17. A 4-0 run fueled by two Walters kills and a Reihman service ace extended the Miami lead to six points, 28-22. Kent State went on a 4-1 run, sparked by two Holt kills, to pull within three of the RedHawks, 26-29, but a KSU service error handed Miami the second game, 30-26.
In the third game, Kent State built a 15-10 lead. Miami came right back, staging an 8-1 run, to post an 18-16 edge. Ratcliff posted three kills, while senior setter Megan Clark (Solon, Ohio/Solon) and junior middle hitter Lauren Slusser (Columbus Grove, Ohio/Columbus Grove) each knocked down solo blocks during the run. KSU went on to take a 28-23 lead, but kills by Slusser, Schroeder and Ratcliff put the RedHawks within two of the Golden Flashes, 26-28. A Miami service error and attack error, however, gave Kent State the third game, 30-26.
Miami took a 10-6 lead early in the fourth game off a Slusser kill, but KSU came charging back on a 6-0 run with help from two Ashley Fuetz kills and two Sarah Wilber service aces, to take a 12-10 lead. Kent State posted a late 27-22 lead, but Miami was able to come back and knot the game, 28-28, off a sophomore outside hitter Jeanna Staun (Loveland, Ohio/Ursuline Academy) service ace. The teams traded points until a kill by KSU's Knabe-Paulsen and a block by Vaiva Laniauskas clinched the fourth game for the Golden Flashes, 32-30.
After Miami took a quick 3-1 lead in the fifth game, Kent State scored four unanswered points to post the 5-3 edge. Capped by a Ratcliff kill, the RedHawks went on a 6-1 run to post the 9-6 lead. KSU rattled off four straight points, including back-to-back service aces by Laniauskas, to capture a 10-9 edge. The teams were tied at 10-10, 11-11, 12-12, 13-13. A huge kill by Norris and a powerful block by Norris and Reihman seized the fifth game, 15-13.
For Miami, Ratcliff notched 20 kills, her third 20-kill performance of the season, while Norris added 18 kills and eight blocks (1 solo; 7 assist) and Reihman notched 13 kills and a team-leading 17 digs. Clark tallied 65 assists and 10 digs, while senior libero Suzy Wolford (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) added 15 digs.
Kent State was led by Holt, who had a match-best 25 kills and 20 digs.
Miami will host a Mid-American Conference First-Round match on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. Seeding for the tournament and the RedHawks' first-round opponent will be determined later tonight.