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Volleyball begins second half of MAC season with "different mindset"

As the second half of the conference season begins, Central Michigan University’s volleyball team heads to the Buckeye State with hopes of getting its season back on track.

CMU’s senior outside hitter and All-Mac performer Kaitlyn McIntyre is set to return to the lineup after missing last weekend’s matches against Bowling Green and Miami (Ohio).

“It was tough to sit out last week,” said McIntyre. “It was good to support my team, and see it from the sidelines.”

McIntyre said that she feels ready to play and is excited to get back on the court with her teammates.

“I feel pretty good right now,” she said. “Things came out fine. I’m trying to get back in there and go strong.”

The Chippewas are 8-12 overall and 3-5 halfway through the Mid-American Conference schedule. The women travel to Akron University Friday and then to the University at Buffalo Saturday.

Both Akron and Buffalo stumble into this weekend with subpar records.

Defensive specialist Kristen Reenders said the team is coming into the second half of the MAC season with high expectations.

“We’re changing our mindset a little bit,” Reenders said. “I think it’s going to help us out in the long run. We don’t feel any more pressure than we do for any other match. We’re hoping to come out and start strong from the get go.”

The Zips enter the matchup sitting at 8-15 and 2-6 in the MAC and have lost eight of their last 10 games.

Freshman Anna Wenger and senior Mary Delich are tied for the team lead in kills with 163. Akron is ranked third in the conference in service aces.

Buffalo comes into the weekend 13-9 and 2-6 in the MAC. The Bulls are currently on a three-game losing streak.

UB is ranked second in the conference in opponent hitting percentage (.182), assists per set (12.46) and kills per set (13.49).

UB junior outside hitter Tahleia Bishop is averaging 4.34 kills per set. Setter Marissa Prinzbach averages the second most assists per set with 11.06.

Olson said in order for his squad to come out on top, the women need to play with more passion and commitment.

“I want the intensity,” he said. “It’s something that the team has to figure out what that is. I think we vary our intensity based on our opponent. I’m always trying to help them. But that’s the team chemistry.”

Freshman Jordan Bueter missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday with an illness, but Olson said she will play this weekend.

“Must win is a weird thing,” he said. “I think they are important matches, but I would say that for every match moving forward.”