Volleyball to finish non-conference schedule

The volleyball team will participate in the Sam Houston State Invitational with a chance to stay above .500.

CMU is coming off a three-set sweep of Illinois-Chicago and won four of its last five matches, all on the road.

“We have basically been on the road since Monday,” said coach Erik Olson. “The team is going to have to prove they are ready for the challenge of playing on short rest.”

The Chippewas will play North Texas at 5 p.m. today for their opening match. The team then takes on Lamar and host Sam Houston State on Saturday.

Aggressive serving is key to Central’s success. Thus far, CMU has 50 aces, more than two aces per set.

Junior outside hitter Lauren Krupksy, senior setter Stephanie Budde and middle blocker Kaitlyn Hurt lead the team with nine aces each.

“We are just looking to get them out of system with aggressive serves,” Budde said. “If they come up as aces, then that is a huge bonus for us.”

The competition

North Texas (2-8) has struggled closing out matches, as four of its last six matches have went the full five sets. It lost three of the four.

North Texas middle blocker Amy Huddleston has been the offensive leader for the Mean Green with 113 kills this season. There is not an athlete within 45 kills of Huddleston’s total on the team.

Last season, Lamar found its rhythm during the Southland Conference Tournament, winning a five-set final against Texas State. The win advanced it to the NCAA tournament, where it lost in straight sets to Texas.

The Cardinals are 4-5, but have victories against Hofstra and Penn. Lamar middle blocker Jayme Bazile has established her dominance on the defensive side with 45 total blocks. Bazile, a true freshman, is the only one on the team who has recorded a solo block.

“Lamar is definitely the team to beat,” Olson said. “We were able to beat them in 2006, and we feel that we have progressed at the same rate they have over these last few years.”

Sam Houston State is 5-7 this season, but 4-0 at home. The team is coming off the Nevada Invitational, where it went 0-3.

Senior libero Alexis Lonneman said the team has steadily increased its level of play since the beginning of the year.

“Our communication and execution have improved greatly from our first tournament to now,” Lonneman said. “We are playing our best volleyball right now and we are excited to get out there.”