Volleyball faces trio in Florida

The volleyball team will compete today in what coach Erik Olsen calls one of the toughest season-opening invitationals in school history.

The team starts a stretch of three games in two days at the Florida State Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla.

“We have one of the most competitive opening weekends in my time at Central Michigan,” Olson said. “We wanted to play some good teams early and, with our young group, it will be interesting to see if we can play our best ball early.”

Central starts with North Dakota State at noon today. The team then plays the host Seminoles in their season opener at 7 p.m.

“I’m excited to get out of our own gym and start competing against other teams,” said junior outside hitter Lauren Krupsky. “We want to let everyone know who Central Michigan is.”

The Chippewas have competition at every position. Krupsky is close to locking up the No. 1 outside hitter position, but there are other players competing for the second spot.

“If someone is struggling, then we always have someone else we can put in,” Krupsky said. “It pushes the people who are starting to keep playing hard because they know there is someone waiting behind them. And it (teaches) those people who may not be starting to stay ready so they can make the most of an opportunity when they have a chance to get on the court.”

Olson said he decided on his starting roster, but will not hesitate to change the personnel midway through the invitational.

“We will go with who are strongest players are at that moment,” Olson said.

Sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn Schultz recovered from a groin injury earlier this month and said she will be looking to start this weekend in Florida.

Road concerns

With six true freshmen on the roster, Olson said there is a concern about the team’s consistency on the road.

“You never know what your freshmen are going to look like on the road,” Olson said.

The team wraps up the invitational at 2 p.m. Saturday against Florida A&M. As a team captain, Krupsky is rallying the team for its first road trip.

“The message has been ‘no fear.’ It doesn’t matter who we play,” Krupsky said. “We are out there to dominate and be our best.”

The team was chosen in the coaches poll to finish fourth in the Mid-American Conference West Division.

CMU’s first home game is Oct. 2 against Ball State.