Volleyball drops season finale against Miami

The Chippewas volleyball team fell to Miami 3-2 March 27 in McGuirk Arena.

CMU volleyball's reverse sweep woes continued in the team's season finale against Miami. 

Not even 24 hours after dropping the final three sets in a five-setter against Miami, CMU (11-11) ended the season with a series loss against Miami (13-8) in McGuirk Arena with the same scoring feat.

In an opening statement, head coach Mike Gawlik said one sentence: "It was good, and then it wasn't."

The series loss to Miami squandered CMU's hopes of punching a ticket to the Mid-American Conference Tournament and the Chippewas will enter the offseason.

"We're not completely broken," Gawlik said. "It's a skill to be a finisher, it's a skill to sprint through the finish line and that's a skill right now that we need to sharpen, because tentative play and the idea of 'protecting something' is not working well."

Gawlik and the Chippewas will enter the next season with a majority of familiar faces and will add a slew of recruits to the 2021-2022 roster.

"The sting of this weekend, the sting of we lost twice in five this weekend, we lost twice in five to Eastern Michigan, we lost in five to Ball State," Gawlik said. "If that doesn't motivate you to get after it in the offseason, I'm not sure anything will -- I'm really not, and I'm confident my group will do that.

"I'm confident that this weekend will stick with my group for a long time and that response is to be determined."

How it happened

The Chippewas became the aggressor early, pulling forward from Miami quickly in the first set. Miami tied the score at 10, but CMU pulled away again, amassing as much as a six-point lead. Miami forced a CMU time-out after tightening the score again, but the Chippewas had no plans to slow down and claimed the first set 25-23.

The second set maintained a tight score between both teams, but CMU managed to pull away at the halfway point and refused to look back. Miami put points on the board to catch up, but a late-set scoring run from the Chippewas allowed them the second set, 25-20. 

Miami picked up the pace to open the third set, establishing an early lead and forcing a CMU time-out. Miami's scoring runs continued to give the Chippewas trouble, forcing their second time-out at 18-13. Despite CMU's efforts to turn the tables, the RedHawks held on to the match and won the third set 25-15.

The fourth set opened with another Miami lead but the Chippewas found the endurance to close up the score, tying up at 12. The two teams tangoed while looking for a scoring run but Miami finally pulled ahead and forced both CMU time-outs, the second at 21-17. Miami continued tacking on the points and reached set point, overtaking CMU by four points. The Chippewas made a strong effort to keep alive, but Miami eventually claimed the fourth set 25-23.

In the fifth set for all of the marbles, Miami took another early lead to force the Chippewas into a time-out, but caught up afterwards and forced the RedHawks into a time-out of their own. CMU hit the panic button at a 12-6 deficit, moving into the second and final time-out for the Chippewas, but Miami continued scoring and reached match point, claiming the second reverse sweep in a row, 15-7.

Impact players 

Junior outside hitter Savannah Thompson led in kills with 18 and amassed 16 digs.

Senior middle blocker Lisbeth-Rosario Martinez attained 16 kills, maintaining a .600 hitting percentage, and contributed three aces and two blocks.

Freshman setter Kamryn Olson led in assists with 29. 

Senior setter Grace Butler followed with 27 assists, tacking on a kill, two aces and 12 digs.

Junior libero Kendall Braate totaled 21 digs, adding three assists and an ace.