Volleyball loses MAC opener against EMU in five sets

The Central Michigan women’s volleyball team opened Mid-American Conference play Thursday with a 3-2 loss against in-state rival Eastern Michigan at the EMU Convocation Center in Ypslanti.

The first set was a back and forth affair with no team gaining more than a three-point advantage on the other until the Eagles pushed their lead to 18-13. CMU head coach Erik Olson called a timeout that seemingly settled his team down as the Chippewas responded with five consecutive points of their own to even the score at 18.

From there, the match continued to stay close before EMU won four of the final six points to take the match, 25-21.

In the second set, with the score 12-9 in favor of the Chippewas, the scoring went streaky. CMU scored four consecutive points to set the mark at 16-9, but the Eagles responded with six straight points of their own to even the score at 16 a side.

The match then went back and forth before CMU pulled away and won it on a Kaitlyn Schultz kill to even the match at 1 set a piece.

However that momentum for the Chippewas did not carry over to the third set. CMU led the match only once — 2-1 — and never really threatened throughout, trailing by four, five and six points multiple times before losing the match 25-16.

“We had a lot of easy plays and even more opportunities, we had too many service errors tonight and that’s got to get better,” Olson said.

Following the set, CMU rebounded to take the fourth 25-21 and push the match to the fifth.

The set was more characteristic of the match and was a back and forth struggle. Knotted at 19, the Chippewas rattled off four consecutive points to make it 23-19 before getting the final two to take the set.

The fifth and final set was again close with no team leading by more than three until EMU pushed their advantage to 11-8. CMU battled but couldn’t quite recover from the deficit, losing the set 15-11.

Despite taking the match to five sets, Olson said CMU gave the match away.

“I think the whole night was a bit of a lack of execution on our part,” Olson said. “It seemed like Krupsky and Ludwig were a little off tonight. They just didn’t have their timing down, but we will get back at it in practice tomorrow.”

The Chippewas had four players with double digit kills led by junior Kaitlyn Schultz, who had 15. Lindsey Delude had a great performance as well adding 14 kills of her own to go along with 16 digs and four blocks.

Lauren Krupsky and sophomore Jocelyn VerVelde, who missed last weekend’s tournament, each had 13 kills as well.

Defensively, the Chippewas were led by senior Lisa Johnson who had 22 digs. Junior Setter Catherine Ludwig had 53 assists and 16 digs of her own.

The Chippewas (7-7) return home at 7 p.m. Saturday to host Ohio University at Finch Fieldhouse.