Volleyball drops three of five sets against Miami as end of season looms

Santo Domingo senior Lisbeth Rosario-Martinez, left, and Thornton, Ill. junior Savannah Thompson sky for a block, Mar. 26.

Freshman middle blocker Elly Medendorp bolted to the left side of the court, successfully knocking down an attack from Miami. 

Two plays later, Medendorp would dash to the opposite side of the court and swipe down a kill. 

Two plays after that, she did it again. 

Medendorp's notable contributions in the fourth set sent McGuirk Arena into a frenzy of excitement and forced Miami into its final time-out of the set.

Despite Medendorp's efforts, CMU (11-10) dropped the final three sets for a 3-2 defeat against Miami (12-8) in McGuirk Arena. 

As the end of the season looms, two spots remain in the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Bowling Green and Western Michigan have claimed the rights to the top two spots in the MAC and will play in the tournament at Bowling Green. 

Impact moments

Miami's attack and a number of errors from CMU allowed the RedHawks to take the lead early, burning CMU's second time-out for the set by an 18-12 score. CMU's final timeout for the set snapped the funk for the Chippewas, allowing them to claim six points and force Miami into its own timeout. Another Chippewa scoring run burned Miami's second timeout at a 21-21 tie. 

CMU and Miami tied up again at 24. The Chippewas won the race to 25, but needed a two-point advantage to take the set. The deuce continued in an intense back-and-forth until CMU won two lengthy rallies to claim the first set at 30-28. 

Miami opened the second set with a similar energy as the first, establishing another early lead. However, the Chippewas were quick to the punch this time, catching up before Miami reached 13 points. The two teams exchanged leads until the end of the set, when CMU went on a scoring run, stumping the RedHawks and winning the second set 25-22.

Now with a 2-0 lead, the Chippewas stepped on the gas and opened the third set with an aggressive offense, establishing the lead. Miami trailed closely behind and tied things up at the 10-10 mark, allowing a tight score for the remainder of the set. The two teams entered another deuce, but Miami pulled out on top to stay in the match at 30-28. 

The Chippewas secured another early lead over the RedHawks, maintaining a steady rhythm as the set progressed. The teams tied up at twenty again, but Miami found the offensive and defensive opportunity to pull forward and claimed the fourth set 25-22.

The fifth set opened with a lead in Miami's favor and despite efforts to catch up, CMU dropped the series with a 15-11 set loss.

"To go where we want to go, we have to be able to stand toe-to-toe with some other heavy-weight fighters," head coach Mike Gawlik said. "I feel like Miami is one of those teams, and I was really proud of the way we played tonight — I really felt like we played well enough that we could win."

Gawlik added that although his team couldn't finish the night with a victory over Miami, he feels as though his team played a strong game that they could learn from later on down the line. 

He noted the team's five-set losses against Eastern Michigan and Ball State earlier in the season, and that although the score ended in the same feat, Miami's loss felt different, like a match that his team would look back on and learn from in the future.

"Urge is not the absence of fear," Gawlik said. "It's doing it anyways — and we just got to take a little bit more of a deep breath and plow through it and take the big swings, even though we might put failure on the line, that's how we're going to get where we want to go."

Impact players

Junior outside hitter Savannah Thompson led in kills with 18, also contributing 17 digs, four blocks and two aces.

Senior middle blocker Lisbeth Rosario-Martinez finished the night with 10 blocks and two aces.

Freshman middle blocker Elly Medendorp hit for .429 percent with seven kills and three blocks. 

Freshman setter Kamryn Olson contributed 28 assists and three aces. 

Up next

The Chippewas will close out the series against Miami at 2 p.m. on Saturday in McGuirk Arena.