Volleyball is back in McGuirk Arena this weekend and will be hosting the top and bottom teams of the Mid-American Conference East Division.
Starting from the bottom and working up, Central Michigan will be hosting Miami (Ohio) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The RedHawks have gotten off to a slow start in MAC play. In fact, they haven’t even left the gate. They are 0-6 and have lost their last eight matches, including six losses by sweep and sit in the bottom half of the conference in all of the statistical categories.
“They’re in the (MAC) East, so we don’t get to see them a lot, and we’re unfamiliar with their personnel,” CMU associate head coach Dave Zelenock said. “We watched film today as a staff, and what we identified is that they’re a great serving team.”
The RedHawks rank seventh in the conference in service aces per set (1.10), though they rank 10th and 11th in the other six team statistical categories.
Miami senior Amy Kendall has recorded an average .27 service aces per set this season, ranking tenth in the MAC.
The Chippewas are heading in a different direction, winning their last five matches and sitting atop of the MAC West.
“The streak is nice, and it looks good in the paper and the fans enjoy it, but we’re focusing on one play, one match; all of those things at a time,” Zelenock said. “So, we’re not 5-0, we’re playing Miami.”
Another streak CMU is riding is consecutive weeks of being represented in the MAC weekly awards.
This week, it was junior libero Jenna Coates winning her second MAC West Defensive Player of the Week.
Coates won by successfully receiving 45 out of 46 serves and a match–leading 22 digs against Ball State. She then recorded five digs in the fourth set against Toledo, helping hold it to a -.074 hitting percentage in the set.
The junior is ranked No. 1 in the MAC in digs per set (4.98), and the Chippewas are ranked No. 2 in the MAC in opponent hitting percentage (.175).
“It’s a great honor coming off two matches on the road,” Coates said. “But we’re just looking ahead to this Miami game Thursday.”
A danger to the winning streak could be overlooking MU because of its slow start and the looming matchup with MAC East leader and MAC unbeaten Bowling Green.
“We have to come out and keep our focus, because teams like that can come at you from behind, so you have to be solid,” Coates said. “We’ve talked about (looking ahead to Bowling Green), but we can’t get too ahead of ourselves.”
The Chippewas will be hosting the Falcons at 7 p.m. Saturday in a MAC West leader versus MAC East leader matchup at McGuirk Arena.
“We’re repping up what we feel will help us against Miami,” Zelenock said. “We’ll deal with Bowling Green on the day off.”