Conference tournament chase begins as volleyball hits road this weekend
It's a fresh start for the Central Michigan volleyball team this weekend as it opens Mid-American Conference play on the road with matches at Ball State and Toledo.
Head coach Mike Gawlik’s “road warriors” wrapped up the preseason with a 1-2 finish at the University of Central Florida Challenge last weekend.
“If anyone knows how to be on the road, it’s us,” Gawlik said. “My bag is still packed from last weekend so you could say I’m excited.”
The Chippewas have traveled for every match in the last four weeks and the trend will continue until Sept. 30 when they return home to take on Northern Illinois at McGuirk Arena.
Although their overall record stands at 6-6, the Chippewas will focus on their 0-0 conference record when they face the Cardinals Friday.
“I think the preseason was an opportunity for us to improve in a lot of areas,” Gawlik said. “On any given night, we could be in a position to compete and win matches.”
Through the 12 nonconference games this season, CMU ranked second in the MAC in hitting percentage (.231) behind Bowling Green (.278).
The Chippewas' 6-6 record places them third behind Northern Illinois and Toledo in the MAC West Division.
Ball State enters the match 8-4 overall. The Cardinals are led by Sabrina Mangapora, who has a team-high 160 kills. CMU faces BSU on Friday and UT on Saturday.
The Rockets are led by Saige Thomas, who enters the game with 137 kills.
The Chippewas top player junior outside hitter Jordan Bueter leads the conference in service aces per set with an average of .51.
The South Bend Native said she expects the MAC to be competitive this season.
“The MAC is up for grabs,” Bueter said. “It’s really on us girls to kick it into gear and get moving with it, but we’re really looking forward to every single team.”
CMU was picked to finish fourth in the MAC West Division in the conference's preseason coaches poll.