CMU winless in first two MAC matches

The Central Michigan women’s volleyball team picked to win the Mid-American Conference West Division is now winless.

In their MAC home opener Saturday, the Chippewas and Bobcats were evenly matched, with the first four sets being decided by a score of 25-23.

The match, the first regular season volleyball contest played in Finch Fieldhouse since 1979, was a back and forth thriller much to the delight of almost 1,500 fans in attendance.

“It was a great atmosphere tonight,” said CMU head coach Erik Olson, “There was a lot of energy, there was really nice buzz — it was a fun (place) to play in.”

The Chippewas fed off the crowd early, jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead. That momentum carried them through most of the first set.

After CMU took a 15-12 lead, the Bobcats scored three consecutive points to even the score. From there, the set went back and forth before CMU won on an Ohio service error.

The second set picked up right where the first ended, with the lead bouncing between both teams. After taking a two-point lead, CMU rattled off five consecutive points to stretch its lead to 17-10, but Ohio wouldn’t go away.

“I think it was a good match for me and the whole team,” said sophomore outside hitter Katie Schuette, who finished the game with 10 kills. “It was a tough loss but I think it was agood showing of what our team can do.”

With the score at 18-12, OU scored five consecutive points of its own before eventually tying the match at 20. They then went on to win the set 25-23 and even the match at one.

After much of the same in the third set, Ohio stretched its lead to 17-12, but after three consecutive errors by Ohio and a Lauren Krupsky kill, the Chippewas pulled within one point, 17-16.

The Bobcats rebounded and eventually led 21-19, but after a Kaitlyn Schultz kill and three attack errors, the Chippewas found themselves with a 23-21 lead. After some back and forth play the Chips sealed a 2-1 match lead on a Krupsky kill that electrified the home crowd.

In the fourth set, with a chance to close out the match, CMU led once and trailed by as many as four.

Despite their struggles, the Chippewas got as close as 23-21 and had a chance to win it, but their opponents held on to send the match to the fifth.

“We made some errors that need to be cleaned up by the end of the season,” Olson said. “We just need to be tougher when it counts.”

For the second consecutive match, the Chippewas entered a fifth set and, for the second consecutive match, they found themselves in a deficit that they couldn’t quite overcome.

After the first four sets were extremely close, Ohio jumped out to a 10-5 lead. The Chippewas closed the gap to 14-11 before Ohio closed it out to win the match and send the Chippewas to an 0-2 MAC record.

“I thought we played well tonight, I thought this match was played at a championship level,” Olson said. “It’s kind of what you would expect. This is the MAC.”

The Chippewas had four players in double digit kills for the second match in a row. Lindsey Delude had her second stellar performance, leading the team with 14 kills and 13 digs.

Krupsky finished with 14 kills, while Val DeWeerd had 11.

Defensively, Lisa Johnson had 14 digs and senior setter Catherine Ludwig had 49 assists.

The Chippewas (6-8, 0-2 MAC) continue conference play at 7 p.m. Friday when they travel to Muncie, Ind., to play Ball State.