The woes continued this weekend for the women’s volleyball team as it was swept in back-to-back matches at Western Michigan and Northern Illinois.
Central Michigan has now lost five-straight matches and eight-straight sets. The slide has dropped CMU from first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division to third.
Offensively, the Chippewas had a .124 hitting percentage this weekend with 41 errors, while the Huskies and Broncos combined for a .289 hitting percentage.
“We just fell short (this week),” head coach Erik Olson said. “One thing we have to work on is our connection with the middles; we’re probably not setting it enough.”
Saturday, CMU was in DeKalb, Ill. at NIU where it went with a different starting lineup, looking to shake things up and create a spark.
Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Hallie Enderle got the start after a Friday night performance where she hit a .294 hitting percentage with five kills.
There was also shared time at the setter position between junior Kelly Maxwell and freshman Jordan Timmer. Maxwell got the start in all three sets with 21 assists, while Timmer recorded five.
It wasn’t enough for the Chippewas, as they were defeated in straight sets 25-14, 25-21 and 25-21.
“We felt we needed a little (take the focus) off (Kelly) Maxwell,” Olson said. “She has had a lot of pressure on her as of late.”
Maxwell averaged 6.5 assists per set this weekend — well under her season average of 11.23 assists per set.
“Her numbers have been down for a few weeks, and some of that has to do with passing, and some is a result of choices,” Olson said. “We need to get our middles going so we can get our offense around them.”
It was much of the same Friday in Kalamazoo with the Chippewas being swept by WMU 25-17, 26-24 and 25-15.
The offense had a MAC season low .106 hitting percentage, the worst since a .086 hitting percentage at Michigan on Aug. 31.
“We had some passing struggles, and (the Broncos) aren’t a great serving team, but they served different types of serves,” Olson said. “Very odd and very high and deep balls that are hard to pass.”
Senior outside hitter Lindsey Dulude had a strong night, leading the team with 10 kills at a .308 hitting percentage while recording 10 digs, which also led the team.
CMU will return home at 7 p.m. Saturday when it takes on Ohio after traveling to Eastern Michigan 7 p.m. Thursday.
“We get to sleep in our beds the rest of the season,” Olson said. “It’s going to be crucial for the rest of the stretch here.”