Winless weekend ends season for volleyball
In matter of minutes, Chippewas fall from potential No. 6 seed to missing out on MAC Tournament
Even after losing both matches on the weekend, Central Michigan’s volleyball team still had a chance for a postseason berth. For a few minutes, at least.
Following its five set loss to Ball State on Saturday, CMU needed Toledo to defeat Eastern Michigan in order for the Chippewas to clinch the eighth and final spot in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
Going into the weekend, CMU only needed to win one of the two games — or have EMU lose one of its two games — to advance to the tournament. A loss to Toledo on Friday put the Chippewas in a tough position on Saturday.
“I thought we played tight and I thought they learned from that loss,” said Assistant Head Coach Theresa Beeckman about the UT game. “We were just making really crazy errors.”
In ironic fashion, CMU was cheering for a team that had just defeated the Chippewas in five sets the day before.
Both games went into the fifth set. As CMU trailed BSU 9-5, EMU took a 9-5 lead over Toledo. The Chippewas would close the deficit to 11-10 before dropping the set 15-10.
Their tournament hopes vanished as the Chippewas watched Eastern Michigan defeat Toledo in five sets via the live stats website (sidearmsports.com).
“We lost the match and we went in the locker room together and saw that happen,” Beeckman said. “That was very emotional.”
In the locker room, the Chippewas were chanting "UT, UT," every time the Rockets would score a point. Emotions were up and down as both EMU and UT traded points, eventually going into extra play in the fifth set
Unfortunately for the Chippewas, the Rockets would fall to Eastern 17-15 in the fifth set. Just like that, CMU’s season was over.
“It was extremely loud (in the locker room), and then extremely disappointing and then extremely loud,” Beeckman said. “Then, (EMU) came and got those last two points, and then the emotions let loose. It was one of the most emotional things I’ve been a part of in my career.”
Even though it wasn’t enough, and the Chippewas fell short of their goal, Beckman said she pleased with the effort her team put forth.
“You could never count this team out,” she said. “And that’s a character thing. That’s how it was all season, it didn’t matter what kind of injuries we had, it didn’t matter what else was going on, they just weren’t going to be done. That’s something they can take home and turn to for the rest of their lives, and that’s pretty cool.”
Seniors Angie White, Kalle Mulford and Hayley Barker all saw their careers as Chippewas come to an end as well.
White and Mulford were both nursing injuries heading into the weekend. White finished her last weekend with 16 kills, and Mulford added 13. Barker recorded 24 digs.
“I’d be remissed if I didn’t mention the seniors,” Beeckman said. “They sure gave their all every single day.”
CMU’s sophomores Jordan Bueter, Taylor Robertson and Jessica Meichtry all had double digit kills in both matches over the weekend.
“The majority of our roster is really young,” Beeckman said. “But they didn’t play like they were sophomores and freshmen, they got to that next year. They were like juniors and sophomores, and that was the most exciting thing to me.”
Throughout all the challenges the Chippewas faced this season, an emotional Beeckman said they met each one with resilience and unselfishness.
“They’re pretty good people,” she said. “There’s something to be said for embracing adversity. That speaks to their character. You look to all the young talent we had, and how much they were willing to sacrifice and give up what they might have wanted for the benefit of the team regardless of the circumstances.”
After the Chippewas took their fate and understood what it meant, the message from Beeckman was clear.
“I told them after we found out our destiny, ‘There’s not always good that falls into your lap from everything, you have to find out what that good is,’ and we’ll find out,” Beeckman said. “We don’t know right know, but we’ll figure it out. Rest assured, there’s good that comes out of everything. Once we look back on the season, we’ll find all of them.”