Bolden shines in 3-0 loss to Ball State


Freshman setter Grace Butler, right, sets the ball for freshman middle blocker Miani Bolden, center, to spike over the net during the CMU Volleyball game against Ball State on Sept. 23 at McGuirk Arena. 

Freshman middle blocker Miani Bolden registered two team highs with 13 kills and five blocks, but the Central Michigan volleyball team fell in three sets to Ball State 25-18, 33-31 and 26-24.

“It’s rare to have a freshman middle blocker lead the team not only in kills, but attack percentage as well” head coach Mike Gawlik said. “To get that productivity from someone who is relatively new to the college game is a shot in the arm for our offensive productivity."

The Chippewas now have a 9-5 record. They are 1-1 in Mid-American Conference play after winning their first conference match against Toledo on Thursday. 

Ball State found momentum early in the first set, creating a four-point lead. Central Michigan continued to fight, tying the first set on multiple occasions. Head coach Mike Gawlik took a timeout trailing 21-18, but the Chippewas were unable to find any offense, dropping the first set 25-18. 

Miana Bolden contributed four kills in the first set, while senior outside hitter Jordan Bueter and senior defensive specialist Courtney Hiltibran each added four digs.

“We put ourselves in a position to be competitive,” Gawlik said. “I thought they broke away from us in the latter part of the set and made the first set look a lot more lob-sided that it was.”

Set two was back and forth until a three-point rally to take a 23-22 lead late forced a Ball State timeout. The set stayed tight until Ball State rallied to win 33-31 and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match. 

Bolden and Bueter each registered five kills in the second set. Bueter, Hiltibran and junior defensive specialist Emily Wenglikowski each contributed six digs.

The third set started off with a change in Libero from sophomore Megan Kern to Wenglikowski.

Central Michigan had a 24-22 lead, forcing a Cardinal timeout. Playing for set point the Chippewas couldn’t finish off Ball State, dropping the third set 26-24.

“We came into this match with something to prove,” Gawlik said. “We knew that Ball State is a good team, they’re widely considered as one of the best teams in the (MAC) west. We had set point in each of the last two sets, great teams finish them off. We just need to tighten the bolts on a few things and put ourselves in position to finish off sets.”

Central Michigan volleyball is back in action on Friday Sept. 29 against rival Western Michigan at 7 p.m. at University Arena in Kalamazoo.

“They’re our rival, it’s going to be super exciting,” Wenglikowski said. “We play them twice a year, we know how they play, it should be exciting playing the Broncos.”