Volleyball drops exhibition match to Ferris State 3-1


Sophomore setter Kelli Combs reaches to set the ball on Nov. 12, 2016 at McGuirk Arena.

Chippewa volleyball fans caught their first glimpse of the 2017 season as Central Michigan fell to Ferris State 3-1 Saturday in an exhibition match at McGuirk Arena. 

The Bulldogs won the first two sets 25-23 and 25-17, respectively. CMU bounced back to take the third set 25-15. In the end, Ferris State proved to be too much for the Chippewas as the Bulldogs took an intense fourth set 34-32.

Head coach Mike Gawlik said he was pleased with the positive takeaways from his younger players on the court.

“We dropped two sets by two points,” Gawlik said. “Those sets come down to experience, the more you’re in close sets the more you find a way to win them.”

Senior defensive specialist Courtney Hiltibran was happy to finally play someone other than her teammates.

“We all know each others trick shots,” she said. “It was nice not to play ourselves.”

Season Preview

The Chippewas return seven upperclassmen from last season — four of them are seniors. After last year's 11-17 finish, expectations are high for the upcoming season.

“We have young, fresh bodies, but (we) also a lot of veterans,” Hiltibran said. “The high expectation of putting a fresh body in and getting good cracks on the ball, and having wise plays from our veterans.”

Sophomore defensive specialist Megan Kern emphasized the great chemistry among her teammates on the court. 

“Everybody is playing well right now,” Kern said. “The Freshmen are integrating really well. I think we’ll have a good season.”

Gawlik said he is counting on the veteran players, especially the seniors, to set the standard for the 2017 season.

“You look to the veterans to set the standard in your gym,” Gawlik said. “When you mix in a capable group of younger players into a group of veterans you get a good mix. In order to have a good season our seniors need to have the best season of their career. You need senior leadership to drive the ship forward.”

The Chippewas are back in action at the Army Invitational in West Point, New York on August 25 and 26, featuring matchups with St. Francis, Hartford, and Army.