Slide continues as volleyball drops to last in MAC West

This isn’t what was supposed to happen.

The Central Michigan women’s volleyball team sits in last place in the Mid-American Conference West Division at 1-5 after back-to-back home losses against Western Michigan and Northern Illinois over the weekend.

With the defeats, CMU has now lost six of its last seven games.

“We played a heck of a match against Northern Illinois, but I think we played a below-average match (against WMU),” said head coach Erik Olson. “Western has a young team and we played even younger. We definitely have some things to work on.”

On Saturday, CMU lost against in-state rival Western Michigan 3-1 after winning the first set. Things started out well as the team came back to win in extra points, 27-25.

They appeared primed for a 2-0 match lead when senior Lauren Krupsky tied the set at 22. However, the Broncos held off a second consecutive comeback bid by the home team to take the set and even the match at one.

From there, WMU really took control. The Chippewas hit at a .111 and .171 clip during the third and fourth sets as WMU led throughout, winning the third set 25-20 before taking the fourth set 25-19.

Junior setter Catherine Ludwig finished with 13 kills, but the most critical stat is Ludwig’s seven errors. Freshman Kelly Maxwell also saw significant playing time in Saturday’s match, recording three kills.

“Our setters need to find the ball and make sure they put our hitters in position to make a play,” Olson said. “We’re going to continue to find the setter who can run our team the best.”

As deflating as the Chippewas loss Saturday night was, they can look toward Friday and take some positives from it.

Northern Illinois came into the match with a 17-2 record and CMU gave them all they could handle.

The team took the first set from the favored Huskies and took them to extra points in set two before losing, 32-30. They dropped the third set 25-18 but rebounded to win the fourth set.

When a Katie Schuette kill tied the fifth set at 13, the Finch Fieldhouse crowd seemed ready to erupt with an upset victory. But back-to-back NIU kills stopped the momentum and gave the Chippewas another tough loss.

Senior Lauren Krupsky again led the Chippewas attack with 33 kills over the weekend, including Friday’s 18-kill effort.

Sophomore outside hitter Lindsey Dulude continues her solid play, totaling 29 kills and 14 digs over the weekend. Kaitlyn Schultz had 21 and Katie Schuette added 20 kills, respectively.

Senior defensive specialist Lisa Johnson continued her strong play at libero with 46 digs.

After the match, the team took longer to get out of the locker room and will try to stay positive as MAC play continues.

CMU continues its four-game homestand next weekend when it hosts Bowling Green at 7 p.m. Friday and Miami at 7 p.m. Saturday.