Volleyball swept at home by undefeated Bowling Green
Junior outside hitter Savannah Thompson fell to her knees after sending the ball directly into the arms of Bowling Green blockers, her point denied.
Determined, she got back up and hugged her teammates.
The next time the toss arrived to her field of vision, she swung.
The people in McGuirk Arena watched intently as the ball fell to the floor of her opponents' side of the court, and CMU's volleyball team erupted in celebration.
Despite having the heart, the energy and the effort, the Chippewas were beat by Mid-American Conference leader Bowling Green in straight sets.
Head coach Mike Gawlik praised his team's commitment to the match and thought the team fought well, but struggled at the net defensively.
"I think defensively we kept their offense in check in a really positive way, but one of the reasons we lost is they out-blocked us 9-1," Gawlik said. "Their blocking was better than our blocking. ... Their attacking was better than ours, partly because their blocking kept us at bay with our attacking."
To work around Bowling Green and create a larger barrier of defense for the Chippewas (7-6), CMU moved some players around the court to try and match the defense the Falcons (12-0) put up.
"When you're down 2-0 and the first two sets -- although we felt they were closer than maybe the scoreboard dictated -- you're looking for a spark. You're looking for someone else to get hot," Gawlik said. "We've done that in the past and had really good productivity off our bench and people that can contribute. You're looking for that consistency or that magic combination that can spring you forward."
The Chippewas needed to make a strong opening impact against Bowling Green and match the tempo of the undefeated Falcons. Both started with a matched level of offense and defense, but BGSU's attacks and CMU's errors allowed the Falcons to pull away and take the first set 25-18.
Bowling Green took a quick start in the second set, only allowing the Chippewas a lead by one with the first point. The second set finished 25-17, giving the Falcons a two-set advantage.
Gawlik felt as though the third set went smoother for his team, which was able to bring an even stronger challenge to BGSU. Though they trailed for the entire third set, the final score came to 25-20.
Throughout all three sets, the Chippewas amassed a total of 23 attack errors over Bowling Green's 12 and hit for a percentage of .122 to the Falcon's .227.
Thompson contributed a total of 11 kills and 10 digs for the Chippewas.
Junior middle blocker Maddie Whitfield followed with seven kills.
Senior setter Grace Butler had 16 assists and a service ace.
Freshman setter Kamryn Olson had two kills, 12 assists and a service ace.
Central Michigan has little time to dwell on its defeat; the Chippewas and the Falcons return to McGuirk Arena on Friday at noon.