A chance at the postseason is out reach for the volleyball team this season.
But a trip to Central Florida and South Florida for a pair of 7 p.m. matches on Friday and Saturday could allow the Chippewas to end the season on a positive note and with a winning record.
“We’re looking to get better this weekend, even though we know it’s our last weekend,” senior outside hitter Lindsey Dulude said. “We’re one of the few teams that can actually go out on a win and we’re looking to get better and play for each other.”
Head coach Erik Olson knows the difficulties of heading to Florida for a few matches. As a former assistant at the University of Miami, he knows sometimes teams treat the matches as a vacation.
“I know, from being a former coach at Miami, that teams have a different mindset coming down to the palm trees,” Olson said. “They kind of think it’s a vacation, rather than a match, so that’s a challenge for sure.”
Olson told his team that he wanted to treat these matches as if it was in the NCAA Tournament in hopes of keeping their minds off the sun and on the ball.
“These would be great opponents to see in the first round, versus like a Michigan or an Illinois like last season,” Olson said. “The two teams playing and us are bubble teams that, if we get hot, could create some damage in a tournament.”
Both the Knights and the Bulls had strong tournament runs last week, but came just short of a championship.
UCF made it the the finals of the Conference USA tournament before losing to Tulsa, whereas USF got to the semi-finals of the Big East Tournament before losing to eventual runner-up Marquette.
“(UCF) plays a different style of volleyball than we’re used to seeing, a little slower pace than the Mid-American Conference,” Olson said. “The Big East Conference rank is No. 8 and (USF) had a nice win over Notre Dame in its conference tournament and have a powerful attack.”
Even though CMU is there to play a couple matches, Dulude said the team will still enjoy the sites and family time for Thanksgiving.
“We get to go to downtown Disney and have fun Thursday,” Dulude said. “This is like my second family so it’s still like spending Thanksgiving with my family.”