Volleyball wins first tournament of season
Central Michigan University’s volleyball team went unbeaten while winning the Cincinnati Invitational during the weekend.
The Chippewas now sit at 5-7 on the season.
Freshman setter Kylie Copple said taking on the underdog role was something the team embraced heading into action against Cincinnati.
“We do a great job of tuning out the external talk,” Copple said. “It’s really about what we are telling ourselves and how we are perceiving ourselves. We know what we have, and we knew what we needed to bring.”
The team ended the nonconference schedule by winning five of its last six matches.
“We had to grind out some of those,” coach Erik Olson said. “We have really been putting the pressure on the players to train that way so that we can translate that onto the court.”
In the first match, CMU quickly dismantled Charleston Southern in three straight sets (25-12, 25-18, 25-23). Senior Kaitlyn McIntyre had 14 kills and 12 digs.
Copple added 33 assists for the Chippewas who captured their first clean sweep of any team the season.
In the Friday nightcap, Tennessee State took the first set 25-21. But the Chippewas quickly composed themselves and won the match 3-1.
Copple had he best showing against TSU, dishing out 43 assists in the match.
“I was really worried about Tennessee State,” Olson said. “They are just a little unorthodox and super athletic, and they don’t go away.”
The biggest win of the tournament came in the final match Saturday against host and tournament favorite Cincinnati. The Bearcats came into the game ranked 38th in the country.
“We scouted them well and had a really good plan,” Olson said. “They are more traditional and so I was a little more confident in that match.”
CMU jumped out to an early 2 set lead, but the Bearcats refused to be swept on their home court. Cincinnati took set three in a close match 25-23, but that was as close as the Bearcats got. The Chippewas took set four and the match in convincing fashion, 25-15.
McIntyre finished with 13 kills bringing her total to 43 for the tournament. Freshman Jordan Bueter added 12 kills and 13 digs of her own. Bueter tallied 34 kills and 34 digs on the weekend.
“That was one of the biggest win of the last decade for us,” Olson said. “We played really well. We passed well, we blocked well and our attacking just continues to get more efficient and aggressive.”
With the non-conference season finished, the Chippewas now set their eyes on the Mid-American Conference schedule.
“We are definitely happy going into MAC play on a high note,” McIntyre said. “We know every team in the MAC is going to come for us, we have to be ready."