With the later portion of the season under way, volleyball has shown its many strengths, sweeping conference opponents with relative ease.
Unfortunately for the Chippewas, they have also seen the tables turn on them, and many times quite quickly.
At 9-11, 3-5 in Mid-American Conference play, CMU has seen its ups and downs. Head coach Erik Olson has stressed to his team the need to remain consistent after a win.
“We can’t allow the same set of conditions to exist, so one of our goals in the MAC is to impose our will,” Olson said. “If a defense is set up a certain way, we need to do things offensively that make them change their defense. Our defensive numbers have been high, but I think that’s also a symptom of us not doing great offensively.”
CMU faces two conference opponents this weekend from opposite ends of the spectrum. Buffalo comes into Friday’s match with an overall record of 16-5 and they are an even 4-4 in conference play.
A stark contrast to the Bulls is Akron. The Zips have been struggling this season, and especially in MAC match play, where they have yet to win a game. Despite having an 0-8 conference record, Olson will not take them lightly.
“I think Akron is scrapping for a W for sure,” Olson said. “You can’t take them lightly at all and they went four sets with Northern Illinois last weekend, so that shows me they’re getting better. It’s a match I’m concerned about. Buffalo was awesome in their loss to Bowling Green, and their libero is just as good as Jenna (Coates). They’re put together well and they’ll be a tough opponent.”
After trading home and road matches for most of the season, the Chippewas are pleased they will be home at McGuirk Arena for both weekend matches. It is also special to the team because CMU will be holding its annual Dig Pink event to raise money for breast cancer awareness month.
The players will be wearing pink accessories and pink t-shirts and hats will be for sale. The Sideout Foundation will also be raising money for breast cancer at the event.
Being at home for the weekend, according to Olson, always has his team raring to go, but this weekend he hopes for a little bit more of an advantage with a plethora of pink in the stands.
“I don’t know that it does (bring more people to the game), I think it’s just pinker,” Olson said. “Our crowds have been pretty good. Our last crowd I think was around 750.
“We certainly hope that everyone comes out to support us on both nights, Friday and Saturday. We’re home for a full weekend and this team is exciting to watch; we just need a little support at home.”
Both matches are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at McGuirk Arena.