CMU volleyball drops five-set match to Buffalo


Libero Megan Kern celebrates as CMU takes the first set Saturday Oct. 12 at home in the McGuirk arena.

The Central Michigan volleyball team suffered its second Mid-American Conference loss of the season.

The Chippewas (18-4, 8-2) were defeated by Buffalo, 3-2, Saturday in McGuirk Arena. The Bulls (8-14, 4-6) were led by senior outside hitters Rachel Sanks and Polina Prokudina, who each had 20 kills.

After defeating Akron in straight sets Friday, the Chippewas picked up right where they left off winning the first set, 25-16. CMU followed that with a win in the second set, 25-21 giving the team a 2-0 lead heading into the third set.

A close start to the third set would not matter as Buffalo was able to pull away from CMU and win the set, 25-19, and extend the match to a fourth set. 

With the pressure of a fifth and final set looming, the Bulls were again able to separate from the Chippewas for a 25-17 set victory, tying the match, 2-2.

The two teams squared off in the decisive fifth set, battling back and forth before Buffalo won, 15-12, securing the match victory 3-2.

Hitting percentage stats told the story of the match with CMU at a .290 after set one, posting a second set hitting percentage of .220, before .091 in the third, .121 in the fourth and a -.150 in the fifth set.

Junior outside hitter Kalina Smith led CMU with 16 kills, 14 digs and an ace.

”It’s a tough one to swallow when you kind of get reverse swept, especially in your own building,” said coach Mike Gawlik. “My hats go off to Buffalo in a lot of ways, their backs were against the wall after two sets and when your backs are against the wall you find out what you’re made of.”

Gawlik gave credit to Buffalo’s increased service pressure as a main factor that disrupted the offensive flow for the Chippewas.

”We knew they were going to increase their service pressure in particular,” Gawlik said. “They did a really great job of that, disrupting our ability to be in rhythm and run our offense from the service line.”

CMU’s chief rival Western Michigan comes into McGuirk Arena on Thursday. The Chippewas swept the Broncos earlier in the season and the visitors are looking to avenge the loss. 

“I think that after this weekend and last weekend we are just gonna refocus on Monday and get back to it,” said sophomore middle blocker Megan Sivertsen. “Thursday being Western I feel like it will be a good game to come back out.”

Despite the previous success, Smith says the team won’t rely on the victory from the last meeting.

”It’s a new game,” Smith said. “The thing with volleyball is even in a game there’s five sets in each match, you can’t sit and focus on what‘s happened. Any team is capable of being beaten on any night.”