Volleyball opens MAC play at EMU Thursday

With a 6-6 finish to their non-conference schedule, the Central Michigan women’s volleyball team looks to get over the hump at 7 p.m. Thursday when it takes on Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti.

Coming off a tough non-conference slate that saw the Chippewas compete against Wisconsin, Purdue and Northern Iowa — all losses — CMU head coach Erik Olson said he was pleased with how his team handled their non-league matchups.

Olson said he knows with the Mid-American Conference schedule at hand, his team should be more than prepared to face their first opponent.

“We’ve played a tough schedule with never a fully healthy roster,” he said. “With that said, we have to get it going in the MAC.”

The first test will be against the Eagles, who are riding an impressive 11-3 record, with big wins against Michigan State and Davidson.

Freshman Paige Roback looks to lead EMU following her third double digit performance in kills and digs.

Also on the radar for the Chippewas is sophomore outside hitter Rachel Iaquaniello. She notched 20 kills on her way to a .200 hitting percentage in the Eagle’s 3-2 win against Michigan State.

Although EMU brings some strong athletes into the match, Olson said it remains to been seen exactly what they will bring into league play.

“They have a freshman on the right side that looks pretty good, and they’re a little better and more confident than last year,” Olson said.

Injury bug

CMU’s health has raised some flags in the recent week as it was forced to compete with only five hitters during last weekend’s tournament. The last minute call forced Olson, and the team, to make some adjustments to their system.

Olson was pleased with the way that his team made adjustments and feels that can be seen as a positive as they work into their MAC schedule.

“We were in a tough situation last weekend,” he said. “We found out within an hour and half of practice that we were going into that weekend with five hitters. The tough part on us is as we get a little healthier, we’re going to be tweaking our system.”

The team will look to seniors Lauren Krupsky and Lisa Johnson, both of which had a strong weekend in the College of Charleston Invitational. Behind her 29 kill weekend, Krupsky finished the weekend as the newest member of the 1,000 kill club, marking the 13th CMU player to accumulate 1,000 kills in a career. Johnson helped the Chippewas to victory against North Florida with behind 18 digs and a total of 35 on the weekend.

The team has a short turn around following Thursday night’s game, returning home to face Ohio University at 7 p.m. Saturday in its home opener at Finch Fieldhouse.