Volleyball drops heartbreaker to Kent State in five sets
Central Michigan University’s volleyball team experienced déjà vu again, falling to Kent State University in five sets Saturday.
The women are currently on a three game losing streak, stand at 9-15 overall and 4-8 in the Mid-American Conference.
After an unlikely rally for the second consecutive match, the Chippewas staved off elimination in sets three and four.
The women were 15 points away from a comeback win in the fifth and final set.
Tied at 13, a serving ace by the Golden Flashes’ Kaylee Koller and an attacking error by CMU senior Kaitlyn McIntyre closed the door on the Chippewas comeback hopes.
On Thursday, CMU erased a 2-0 lead only to fall in the fifth set 15-13 to Eastern Michigan University. The Chippewas did the same thing Saturday against Kent State and lost by the same score.
“It’s tough to swallow,” said CMU coach Erik Olson. “We didn’t win the right points. It’s pretty rare to win a match when you’re down 0-2. We actually had the opportunity to win both matches in that scenario.”
With the offense struggling, Olson went to his bench and inserted senior setter Danielle Thompson, who finished the match with 23 assists, and provided a spark for the squad after the break.
“(Thompson) did a fantastic job of running the offense,” Olson said. “We were very one-dimensional in sets one and two. We were setting to the left side only, and Danielle ran the whole offense and did a great job.”
Facing the sweep, the Chippewas closed out the third set on a 14-8 run to capture the set 25-19. The women used that momentum to pull out the fourth set on a 10-4 run.
“We certainly made up for some deficits,” Olson said. “That’s a big deal to get back and fight and get into the fifth game.”
The women’s inability to win the first set after leading 23-22, allowed KSU to steal the victory. The Golden Flashes ended the set on a 3-0 run.
The Chippewas finished the first set with a side out percentage of 50, which Olson said was the main reason for the team’s late collapse.
“It’s just a matter of side out efficiency in those situations,” he said. “I don’t think we are putting ourselves in great situations in tight moments. The better we can put ourselves in better situations in tight situations, the greater the opportunity we will have to win those points.”
McIntyre finished the match with a team-high 15 kills and tallied 11 digs. Jordan Bueter and Angie White each added 12 kills.
“We fought ever single point the entire match,” CMU junior Angie White said. “It ultimately comes down to winning the right point.”
White said the team will continue to move forward and their confidence has not wavered after the pair of close defeats.
“It’s not a negative and it’s not a positive,” she said. “We just keep going after it and keep our heads up. Tomorrow we have another day. It’s not the absolute end of the world.”
CMU hosts Ball State and Toledo next weekend.