Volleyball tops Broncos 3-1, splits weekend behind McIntyre and defense
It was a weekend of highs and lows for Central Michigan volleyball.
After losing Friday night in four sets to Northern Illinois, the Chippewas (7-6, 1-1 Mid-American Conference) bounced back against rival Western Michigan in four sets on Saturday night, earning a 3-1 victory.
CMU was led by sophomore outside hitter Kaitlyn McIntyre, who tallied 27 kills, 14 digs and added two service aces in the win over the Broncos (8-6, 1-1 MAC).
“We really bounced back well after last night,” head coach Erik Olson said. “We learned a little bit about ourselves after a good conversation last night, and I saw our team take it one play at a time, one moment at a time.”
The Chippewa defense was key in its win over WMU, holding the Broncos to a .139 hitting percentage and racking up 74 digs.
Out of those 74 digs, four players had double-digit digs, including 19 digs by senior outside hitter Lindsey Dulude, 16 from junior libero Jenna Coates and 12 by senior defensive specialist Samantha Brawley.
“We played some awesome defense tonight,” McIntyre said. “It opened up opportunities in transition, and I attribute this (win) to our defense.”
It wasn’t all about the defense, though.
Junior setter Kelly Maxwell led the offensive attack with 56 assists – her second-straight match with 50 or more assists. Along with McIntyre’s 27 kills, Dulude had 10, and senior outside hitter Val DeWeerd and junior middle blocker Danielle Gotham each had eight.
“Kelly (Maxwell) put up some awesome balls tonight,” McIntyre said. “We were able to find the holes.”
Friday was a different story.
The Chippewas also held the Huskies (10-8, 1-1 MAC) to a hitting percentage under .250 (.220) and had 74 digs, but they weren’t able to pick up the win, dropping the match 3-1.
“We won every statistical area (against Northern Illinois), so that is frustrating,” Olson said. “Our Xs and Os were there, but we were just a little off.”
CMU was led by McIntyre once again offensively with 16 kills and another double-digit dig effort with 12.
DeWeerd had 11 kills, while Gotham and Dulude each had 10.
Coates led the way in digs with 31.
But the story of the weekend was the Chippewas getting off their three-game losing streak against the preseason MAC favorite Broncos.
“It’s an awesome win,” McIntyre said. “Western is a great team, and we had a little skid but had a solid team effort tonight.”
CMU will look to keep its MAC record above .500 Thursday when it hosts Eastern Michigan.
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