Volleyball builds up to first victory in opening weekend
It took three tries, but the Central Michigan University volleyball team left the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Invite with a victory and a bit of confidence.
The Chippewas fell to the host Mastodons 3-1 on Friday night and then dropped a match to Eastern Illinois 3-2 on Saturday morning. CMU came back in its final match of the weekend and earned a 3-2 victory over the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Head Coach Erik Olson said the message for this weekend was “to compete” and stated that his team got better with each match they played.
“I do think we had the ability to win all three matches,” he said. “There was just a lot of ups and downs. We would be rocking and rolling and then we would kind of let our foot off the pedal.”
IPFW 3, CMU 1
CMU lost the first set 31-29 while also losing senior middle blocker Angie White to an injury. She later returned in set two, but Olson believes her departure contributed to the set win for the Mastodons.
“Without her, it certainly hurt us,” Olson said. “If we were able to secure that first set, I think the match would have been a different story.”
The Chippewas took the second set 25-20, but would eventually fall to IPFW 25-17 in set three and 25-22 in set four, taking its first loss of the season.
Offensively, the Chippewas were led by sophomore outside hitter Jordan Bueter, who tallied 16 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Robertson added 12 kills while sophomore outside hitter Jessica Meichtry had 11.
EIU 3, CMU 2
CMU took the first set 25-19 and squeaked out a 26-24 decision in the second set, grabbing a 2-0 advantage. However, the Panthers rallied back to take set three 25-15 and set four 25-20. EIU won the rubber match 15-13.
Bueter led the Chippewas yet again with 23 kills, while Meichtry and Robertson added 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Junior setter Kathia Sanchez had a game-high 52 assists while freshman defensive specialist Jamison Wolffis recorded 19 digs.
Olson had a simple message for his squad following the tough loss.
“(I said to) focus on discipline,” Olson said. “We played aggressive all weekend. All the pieces were there. Really the message was (to) compete.”
CMU 3, UIC 2
The Chippewas responded to Olson’s message and notched their first win of the season in the late afternoon match. CMU won the first set 27-25 before falling in set two, 25-21. They grabbed the win in set three, 25-14, but dropped set four, 25-22. A 15-11 victory in set five sealed the Chippewas’ 3-2 victory.
“We just competed,” Olson said. “I really liked what I saw. We had great energy. We had relentless pursuit. Our effort was great. The difference is we didn’t take the mental breaks.”
Olson was proud of the win, but also appreciated his team shutting down Flames’ All-American Stephenee Yancy, who was limited to 21 kills.
“I thought we did a really good job of slowing her down,” Olson said. “That was kind of the highlight of the weekend.”
Sanchez dished out 51 assists while Meichtry led the offense with 18 kills.
“(Meichtry) had a great weekend,” Olson said. “She was super aggressive and scored a decent amount of points for us.”
Olson also liked what he saw from Sanchez, who competed in her first matches for the Chippewas after transferring from Iowa Western Community College. She has 136 assists on the season.
“(Sanchez) kind of warmed up as the weekend went on,” Olson said. “I think she was nervous. She’s still learning a lot. She can set the ball, that’s for sure. She got better as each set.”
CMU will travel to the Cleveland State University Invite next weekend, which begins with a
matchup against the host Vikings at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4.