Dec. 6, 2008

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Miami saw its season come to an end in a back-and-forth five set loss to Middle Tennessee State in an NCAA Tournament first round match (23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 28-30, 13-15). The RedHawks finish the season 21-12, while the Blue Raiders improve to 27-7.

After falling behind 1-4, two kills from Megan Griffin as well as a service ace helped the RedHawks tie the score at six. Three attack errors by the Blue Raiders, another service ace from Griffin and a block from Maria Leahy and Michele Metzler gave Miami an 11-6 lead. The RedHawks expanded the lead to as large as eight at 18-10, but Middle Tennessee went on a 13-5 run that retied the score at 23. Izabela Kozon and Stacy Oladinni followed with back-to-back kills to give the Blue Raiders a come-from-behind 25-23 set win.

Schroeder led the RedHawks to a 5-1 lead in set two with two kills, a solo block and teaming with Hallie Hanks on another block.  A kill from Griffin and a block from Griffin and Schroeder expanded the lead to 8-2. With the score 14-8, Miami went on a 4-1 run that gave it its largest lead of the set at 18-9. Similar to set one, Middle Tennessee went on a long run, this time an 11-2 run that gave the Blue Raiders a 21-20 lead. The RedHawks did not give in this time as Hallie Hanks scored a kill that tied the set at 21. That was followed by a kill from Schroeder, a block by Schroeder and a kill from Hanks to create set point at 24-21. Middle Tennessee fought off the next two points, but Schroeder found the middle of the Blue Raiders court off an Andrea Atteberry assist to take the second set 25-23.

With the score 8-3 in favor of Miami in set three, Melissa Zenz reached down with her fingertips to keep a point alive with a tough dig. While Middle Tennessee eventually won that point, it was the 1,468th dig in Zenz’s Miami career, which makes her the all-time leader in that category as a RedHawk, breaking Stephanie Otten’s (1992-95) record of 1,467.

The teams traded points until it was Miami in front, 15-11. Back-to-back kills from Leahy and Metzler gave the RedHawks their largest lead of the set at 17-11. A 9-3 run by Middle Tennessee tied the score at 20. Three straight points off kills from Leahy and Schroeder and a solo block from Atteberry gave Miami a 23-20 lead. After the Blue Raiders scored the next point, Griffin and Metzler put down back-to-back kills to give the RedHawks the 25-21 win.

Middle Tennessee jumped to an early 11-4 lead in set four. A 5-1 by Miami run led by two kills from Leahy pulled the RedHawks to within three at 9-12. With Miami trailing 15-18, three straight kills by Leahy tied the score at 18. A 6-2 run by the Blue Raiders gave them set point at 24-22, but the RedHawks fought it off will a kill by Hanks and a setting error by Middle Tennessee. The Raiders had two more set points, but both times Miami fought those off to retie the score. With the score 26-26, Griffin put down another kill to create match point for the RedHawks. Middle Tennessee fought off that one, as well as one more to tie the score at 28. A block by the Blue Raiders, followed by a service ace gave Middle Tennessee set four, 30-28.

The Blue Raiders scored the first two points of the decisive fifth set before a kill by Hanks put the RedHawks on the board. The teams went back and forth until the score was tied at six. A 7-4 run gave Middle Tennessee a 13-10 advantage, but the RedHawks did not give up. After a timeout, Atteberry and Griffin teamed up on a block, and that was followed by another block, this time from Atteberry and Metzler and then a kill from Metzler to tie the score at 13. The Blue Raiders followed with a kill from Leslie Clark and a block on Metzler to win the final set 15-13.

Leahy led the team with a career high 17 kills. Griffin recorded 15 kills and hit .375 for the match. She finished the season hitting .358, which is a new single season record at Miami. Zenz led the team with 22 digs, while Atteberry provided 60 assists.

Friday’s match was the final action for seniors Schroeder, Zenz and Catherine Wolfe.