Volleyball opens season at Army Invitational
Chippewas look to build from last season in Gawlik's second year
In its second year under head coach Mike Gawlik, the Central Michigan volleyball team kicks off its season Friday, Aug. 25 at the Army Invitational in West Point, NY.
The Chippewas are predicted to finish 5th in the MAC West Division according to the preseason MAC coaches poll, the same place they finished last season.
“We can do some pretty special things,” Gawlik said. “I know the MAC Poll has us in a certain spot but we’re out to show the MAC that that’s just not accurate.”
CMU looks to improve on last season’s 11-17 record, and Gawlik said he sees his team's arrow pointing upward.
“Our foundation is in place for the style of volleyball we want to play and the way we want to go about our business,” said Gawlik. “Returning players are better than they were a year ago, our newcomers are adding to the culture within our gym and I think when you add those two together there is nowhere to go but up.”
One key returner for Central Michigan is senior Jordan Bueter. Bueter accomplished All-MAC First Team honors last season and was named to the preseason All-MAC First Team once again.
Personal accolades don’t mean as much to Bueter as the success of her teammates.
“As long as my team does well I’ll do well because they set me up for that success,” she said.
Bueter leads a group of returning veterans in middle blocker Paige Carey, outside hitter Taylor Robertson and defensive specialists Courtney Hiltibran and Emily Wenglikowski.
The Chippewas welcome five new freshmen to the program this season. Miani Bolden, Grace Butler, Lyza Myers, Kalina Smith and Hannah Warners are all getting their first taste of college action. With key returning seniors and fresh faces, Bueter praised the chemistry among her teammates on the court.
“Everyone is really good at always having that sense of urgency,” said Bueter. “The freshmen don’t act any different than the seniors act.”
The freshmen have a big jump to make from high school to the collegiate level. Myers the help from her teammates has made the transition a little easier.
“The pace of the game is a lot faster than high school,” Myers said. “But the whole team has taken me under their wing, they are all pretty accepting and helpful.”
The Chippewas will be on the road the next two weekends at the Army and George Mason Invitational before returning home Friday, September 8 for the Chippewa Invitational.