White’s game-winning kill seals victory over Toledo
With the fans cheering and on their feet, Angelique White came up big for Central Michigan University’s volleyball team Saturday night.
With the match tied at 25 in the third set, White recorded a block and then added a game-winning kill that sent McGuirk Arena into an uproar as the Chippewas defeated Toledo University 27-25 and clinched the match in straight sets.
The win snapped a four-game Chippewas losing streak and kept their conference tournament hopes alive.
The Chippewas sit at 10-16 overall and 5-9 in the Mid-American Conference, which puts them a game ahead of Bowling Green State University and Buffalo University for the eighth and final conference tournament spot.
“This puts us in the best possible position we could be in,” said CMU’s senior outside hitter Kaitlyn McIntyre. “We have to keep after it.”
Toledo came out firing on all cylinders in the third set refusing to go down easily.
“I thought Toledo was awesome defensively,” CMU coach Erik Olson said. “They controlled a lot of balls and brought the ball back to us. We had to be patient with our free ball offense, and we did a good job with that.”
In the third set, the Rockets led 17-15 and seemed to be pulling away when CMU regained momentum with a 3-1 run and jumped out to a 20-18 lead.
The drama was only beginning.
Toledo responded by taking the lead 22-21, but a serving error gave the Chippewas a chance to take back the set, tying it at 22.
The teams traded points twice more and the set was tied at 25 when White’s two key plays sealed the victory for the women.
“We were just relaxed and it felt like we had the game in our hands,” McIntyre said. “We let our defense take control, and we were able to finish it.”
After Toledo jumped ahead and took an 8-5 lead, the Chippewas used a 5-1 run to take control of the first set. Ahead 17-15, the Chippewas ended the set on an 8-2 run led by McIntyre and White’s five kills apiece.
Riding that momentum the women dominated the second half of the second set. Back-to-back aces by Jordan Bueter propelled the Chippewas to a 20-15 lead forcing the Rockets to call timeout. CMU kept pushing finishing the set on a 5-3 run to put themselves in position for the sweep.
After benching setter Danielle Thompson for freshman Kylie Copple in Friday’s loss to Ball State, Olson decided to go back to the senior.
“I think they are both playing very similar right now,” Olson said. “[Thompson] did a great job running the offense. 38 assists in three sets, those are awesome numbers.”
Four players from CMU’s squad recording 10 kills or more which was in large part to Thompson’s play on the court.
“My passing and the defense was the key to that,” Thompson said. “I put that all on my passing and my hitters tonight.”
Olson said that Saturday’s win could ultimately be the birth of something special.
“We wanted to come out and play great ball and we did that,” he said. “We said if we could do that, it could start something. We just need to keep going after it. This team still believes that they can do phenomenal things.”