Volleyball falls in five sets to Western Michigan as Jordan Bueter sits with injury


Junior setter Kathia Sanchez jumps at the net Friday evening against Western Michigan in McGuirk Arena. The Chippewas and Broncos battled in a five game match, with the Broncos winning, 3-2.

In true rivalry fashion, the Central Michigan and Western Michigan volleyball teams traded points in a five-set clash Friday at McGuirk Arena.

Ultimately the Broncos would prevail 3-2, avenging a five-set defeat to their arch rivals earlier in the season.

“There’s just that drive playing Western to always beat them,” said outside hitter Taylor Robertson. “They’re our rivals. They’re a good team, and so are we, but we just clashed heads and it just didn’t happen.”

CMU led 8-7 in set five, but three service errors allowed WMU to take a 13-10 lead. The Broncos got an ace from Caroline Rose, and CMU's defense was out of position on the ensuing play, and the Broncos claimed a 15-11 win.

The loss dropped CMU to 10-14 overall and 5-6 in the Mid-American Conference West Division. The Broncos improved to 11-15 and 7-4 in the MAC West.The Chippewas had a chance to move up to second place in the West division, but instead fell to fourth.

“This team hasn’t made one single excuse, or felt sorry for themselves,” said Assistant Head Coach Theresa Beeckman. “I really wanted them to get that win because not for one second did they hesitate to believe that we could come in and compete right down to the wire.”

Beeckman said the loss was especially tough because of the effort the Chippewas put forward throughout the match.

“They were on a mission, that was going to be their match,” she said. “And I so badly wanted that win for every player on this roster.”

Mistakes doomed the Chippewas in the final set, which allowed the Broncos to pull away. CMU had a total of 12 serving errors on Friday.

“I kicked myself in Game 5 because I thought about making a strategic serving sub,” Beeckman said. “I thought we could have gone with a different server in a spot with a little less aggressive server, and it didn’t work out.”

CMU was without sophomore outside hitter Jordan Bueter, due to an undisclosed injury sustained earlier in the week.

Beeckman did not specify whether or not Bueter would play in Saturday’s game against the top-ranked MAC West squad, Northern Illinois.  

Taylor Robertson and Jessica Meitchry combined for 37 kills in Bueter’s absence, and Kalle Mulford added 10.

“Jordan was still very present on the sidelines talking to us,” Robertson said. “I thought we all stepped up, pulling together as a team.”

Robertson and several other players had to play different roles due to the loss of Bueter and with senior Angie White also sidelined.

“Most of us were out of position, but I thought we did a good job of executing. Obviously we didn’t get the result that we wanted, but we did a good job adapting.”

The Broncos defense was stout led by Hailey Knecht, who had 38 digs on the night. 

"They're very scrappy, and they had really good middles," Robertson said. "They were digging up a lot of balls that I thought were going to go down." 

With WMU leading 2-1, CMU had work to do heading into the fourth set. The Chippewas had their best offensive set and two straight kills from junior setter Kathia Sanchez gave CMU the 25-21 win forcing the decisive fifth set.

After CMU made a comeback to win set one, the Broncos responded with back-to-back wins in sets two and three to put the pressure on the Chippewas. 

CMU is back on the court tomorrow against NIU. The match will start at 7 p.m. at McGuirk Arena.