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Volleyball hosts final games of season

On the heels of two five-set losses on the road, Central Michigan University’s volleyball team aims to grab a pair of crucial wins at home as it attempts to keep it’s Mid-American Conference title hopes afloat.

CMU (9-15, 4-8 in MAC) host Ball State (14-11, 8-4 in MAC) at 7 p.m. Friday and Toledo (1-24, 0-12 in MAC) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Head Coach Erik Olson said Ball State should be the tougher of the two matchups for the Chippewas.

“I haven’t seen a team stop both their middles on the same night,” Olson said. “I have seen teams slow (BSU) down though. Their ball control is pretty good as well.”

Ball State’s height is what Olson said could cause problems for his squad.

“Even when they’re slightly out of system they can still get the ball to them and that’s what makes them so dangerous,” Olson said. “If you force Ball State to set elsewhere that’s where you can slow them down.”

The Cardinals’ junior Hayley Benson leads the conference in hitting percentage at .449 and ranks third in kills with 4.06 per set.

CMU junior defensive specialist Kristen Reenders enters the weekend as the reigning MAC West Co-Defensive Player of the Week and is tied for second in the MAC with 231 digs.

The Cardinals come into McGuirk Arena as the best passing team in the league.

With an average of 13.21 assists per set, the BSU offense compliments the Cardinals stingy defense.

“I think a lot of that comes from a solid serve-receive game,” Olson said. “When we have problems it’s because out passing is what we consider a one-option offense and we want three.”

Toledo comes into the weekend sitting in last place in the MAC.

Senior outside hitter Kaitlyn McIntyre said overlooking the Rockets, however, is not an option for the CMU women.

“It’s very important not to play down to your opponent,” McIntyre said. “Top to bottom in the MAC anyone can beat you on any night.”

Improving side-out percentage will be key in finding success this weekend, McIntyre said.

That will start for CMU with good passing.

“We’re really going to have to solidify out passing,” McIntyre said. “Out of system offense is something we have been working on for the past few weeks. If we get our right side going on top of our left I think we will be good.”