Volleyball faces Western Michigan in MAC quarterfinals
It’s do or die for the Central Michigan volleyball team as it begins its run for the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship.
The No. 6 Chippewas start the quarterfinals against No. 3 Western Michigan at 1:30 p.m. today at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
CMU dropped its first two matches against the Broncos in four games, but showed improvement in the latest matchup.
“If you look at the box scores of our first two matches with Western, they outscore us 141-139, but we have significantly more errors,” said head coach Erik Olson. “They’re a low-error team and they don’t miss serves.”
The Chippewas recorded 19 service errors to WMU’s seven.
The Broncos have struggled lately, narrowly beating Toledo, then losing both matches last weekend against Northern Illinois and Miami (Ohio).
“Because they’re a low-error team, they keep the ball in play and we just need to do a good job of picking up the ball and turning into something positive,” Olson said. “We’re bigger in the middle, our libero (sophomore Jenna Coates) digs cleaner than theirs and I think we’re more tactical.”
CMU has senior middle blocker Kaitlyn Schultz, the most consistent hitter on the floor. She leads the MAC in hitting percentage at .401.
WMU brings in some strong talent of its own with freshman setter Terin Norris, who is second in the MAC in assists and sophomore libero Lena Oliver, who leads the conference in digs.
“Their libero gets more touches than ours, so in theory we should be able to dig transition better than Western, but we haven’t and I give a lot of the credit to their setter because she puts up some pretty good balls.”
The Chippewas aren’t getting caught up in the hype of the rivalry. They’re looking to take the weekend one game at a time, in an attempt to make a run at the MAC Championship.
“We don’t care who is on the other side of the court,” Schultz said. “We’re worrying about who we are and we aren’t worried about the other side.”
CMU has never won the MAC Tournament before.
Schultz has been practicing with an injured groin this week after pulling it during classes, but she will play this weekend.
“We just have to do what we’ve been working on in practice,” Schultz said. “We need to play together as a team and get excited and be enthusiastic about everything.”
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