CMU volleyball picked to win MAC West Division


Central Michigan Women's Volleyball Team gathers before a match against Western Michigan Oct. 31 at McGuirk Arena.

After having a canceled fall 2020 season, the extra time the Chippewas' volleyball team has been spending in the gym is predicted to pay off. 

The Mid-American Conference announced Thursday that CMU is expected to win the West Division's regular season championship, as voted by conference coaches.

This is the first time CMU has been chosen to win the MAC West Division. 

CMU led the poll by 3 points over Ball State, which beat the Chippewas in the MAC Tournament semifinal in 2019. For the second year in a row, Miami (Ohio) was picked to win the East Division.

Additionally, senior outside hitter Kalina Smith and senior middle blocker Lisbeth Rosario-Martinez were both named to the preseason All-MAC squad.

In the 2019 season, CMU was picked fourth in the preseason poll. The team defied the odds by reaching the semifinals in the MAC Tournament, following a 21-9 season which saw head coach Mike Gawlik be named  MAC Coach of the Year. 

The MAC Tournament is set for April 2-3, where the top four teams in the conference will compete for a championship title and qualification into the NCAA tournament.

This season kicks off Jan. 22 as the Chippewas head to Toledo to face off against Ohio. They return to Mount Pleasant the following week to take on Kent State, which will mark the first of their 11 home games this season.

Here are the results for the 2020-2021 MAC Volleyball Coaches Preseason Poll:

West Division

1. Central Michigan -- 67
2. Ball State -- 64
3. Western Michigan -- 45
4. Eastern Michigan -- 31
5. Toledo -- 23
6. Northern Illinois -- 22


East Division

1. Miami -- 62
2. Bowling Green -- 60
3. Ohio -- 55
4. Akron -- 28
5. Kent State -- 24
6. Buffalo -- 23