Volleyball hopes to create championship culture in Gawlik's first season
Fans got their first glimpse of the Central Michigan volleyball program under its new head coach Mike Gawlik Aug. 20 at its annual maroon and gold scrimmage.
Gawlik said he saw good plays from all 14 women on his team, but there is a lot of room for improvement.
“We want it to be the worst match we play all year,” he said. “Some players are younger and some of them are playing a different position or carrying on a different leadership role. This was our first opportunity to get some of the kinks out.”
His main goal for his inaugural season, Gawlik said, is to “establish a championship culture” within the volleyball program. He hopes for the Chippewas to compete with and become one of the elite teams in the Mid-American Conference.
The Chippewas have missed the MAC tournament for three consecutive seasons. Last year, they finished 11-18 overall and 6-10 in the MAC.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think the MAC Tournament is a possibility for us,” Gawlik said. “A successful season for us would be something where we really get our culture and our chemistry going in the right direction. I think that winning will be a byproduct of that.”
Gawlik mentioned outside hitters Jordan Bueter, Jessica Meichtry and Taylor Robertson as experienced assets to his team. The three juniors each scored more than 300 points during the 2015 season.
In terms of improvement, Gawlik said he will focus on his younger middle blockers the most. Freshmen Jayla Wesley, Allison Knoll and sophomore Lexi Duello are three players he hopes to get on the radar.
“We need to solidify our middle blockers as being a weapon for us,” he said. “Sneaking some productivity out of them early in the year and getting teams to really respect them as top notch performers is a goal of ours.”
CMU opens its season Aug. 26-27 at the Indiana-Purdue-Indianapolis Tournament. They will face Southern Illinois, the host Jaguars and Duquesne.
The following weekend, the Chippewas head to East Lansing to play in the Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational against Florida, Michigan State and Morgan State.
CMU’s first home game is scheduled for Sept. 30 against Northern Illinois. The Huskies are the defending MAC regular season champions.