ATHENS, Ohio -- Down 14-12 and facing two season-ending match points, Miami (Ohio) rallied to take the fifth set 19-17 and earnedf a dramatic 3-2 (25-22, 25-18, 23-25, 23-25, 19-17) win against Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference semifinals on Sunday evening. The RedHawks improve to 21-9 overall and advance to their first MAC Tournament final since 2007, while the Huskies finish their season at 22-10.
Miami will take on fifth seed Western Michigan in the MAC Championship on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Athens, Ohio. The Broncos upset the top seed and regular season champion Ohio in five sets in the other semifinal on Sunday.
A true team effort led the RedHawks to the win on Sunday. Miami hit .236 for the match and had five players finish with double-digit kills, led by sophomore outside hitter Maris Below with 14. She made it a double-double with a season-high 16 digs. Sophomore middle hitter Paige Hill and junior outside hitter Annie Reiswig each recorded 12 kills, redshirt junior middle hitter Jenny Ingle had 11 and senior right side hitter Sarah Chaney put down 10.
Defensively, Miami had 92 digs in the match, led by freshman libero Maeve McDonald with 25. In addition to Below's 16, setters senior Meg Riley and sophomore Krista Brakauskas had 12. Both recorded double-doubles as Riley finished with 34 assists, while Brakauskas had 27. Riley nearly made it a triple-double, finishing with eight kills.
The RedHawks held the Huskies to a .167 attack percentage and outblocked them 8-6. NIU was led by senior Mackenzie Roddy, who had 25 kills and 17 digs on the night.
Miami advances to MAC Championship where it will take on Western Michigan tomorrow at 7 p.m.!— Miami Volleyball (@MiamiOH_VBall) November 24, 2014