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Volleyball to face top hitter in MAC

Freshman setter Kylie Copple, No. 30, sets the ball to junior middle blocker Angelique White during their game against Bowling Green State University on Thursday in McGuirk Arena.

With a crucial contest at home this Saturday, Central Michigan University’s volleyball team is prepping for what the team is predicting to be a decisive game.

The Chippewas take on Miami (Ohio), which sits at 10-8 overall and 3-3 in the Mid-American Conference. The RedHawks swept Kent State University last weekend.

“I don’t know a lot about Miami,” said CMU’s redshirt freshman outside hitter Taylor Robertson. “I don’t think we need to know a whole lot, we just need to know what we need to do.”

CMU could be without its best player senior outside hitter Kaitlyn McIntyre, who is questionable for the match. CMU coach Erik Olson did not specify what the injury was, but said that her presence would be missed.

“She’s sore, and it’s something preventing her from playing,” Olson said. “She’s a great player and there’s a lot of confidence in her.”

Olson said that redshirt freshman Jessica Meichtry has been practicing in place of McIntyre.

“We’re preparing as if she’s not going to play,” Olson said. “If she can’t go, then we will have to figure out a way to get it done.”

Offensively, Miami has been led by 6-foot-5 redshirt junior middle hitter Jenny Ingle. Ingle’s hitting percentage of .402 is the best in the conference.

“Ingle is always someone to worry about,” Olson said. “She’s pretty successful. Even when she mishits, she’s coming from such a high angle it’s difficult to defend.”

The RedHawks are ranked fifth in the conference in hitting percentage in large part to Ingle and sophomore middle hitter Paige Hill, who is fifth in the MAC with a hitting percentage of .336.

“Their middle hitters are rolling a little better than I’ve seen them do in a while,” Olson said. “They are just hitting the ball better than I’ve seen them do in the past few years.”

Olson said that this year’s Miami team is better offensively than in previous season, which has caused problems for CMU in recent seasons.

“They are a little bit better passing team than I’ve seen in past years,” he said. “Their offense is very similar with a high ball spread attack.”

Miami’s defensive specialist Maeve McDonald is ranked fourth in the conference averaging 4.34 digs per set. The RedHawks middle tandem of Ingle and Paige have accumulated 28 solo blocks, which is more than half of the team’s total.

The Chippewas’ defensive specialist Kristen Reenders said that the plan against Miami is to stay focused on the future.

“I think sometimes we get in this mood where we think too much about the last play,” she said. “We really made it a focus this week and moving forward to worry about the next ball and not our previous mistakes.”