Chippewa volleyball loses series to undefeated Bowling Green
In Thursday's match against Bowling Green, the Chippewa volleyball team struggled and dropped straight sets.
Less than 24 hours later, CMU returned for a redemption match and fought stronger, but fell 3-1 Friday in McGuirk Arena.
While the Chippewas (7-7) showed more of a fight, the Falcons (13-0) flexed their muscles and showed why they're the best team in the Mid-American Conference.
Head coach Mike Gawlik says that his team's loss did not amount from a lack of effort or heart; while there were stumbles that allowed Bowling Green to go on scoring runs, he knows his team played a much improved match.
"Some of the things we did we executed really, really well," Gawlik said. " ... When you're playing a top team in the league and you find yourself at 22-23 down the stretch, you find yourself a point or two away; I thought we flipped a few more points from last night to be in that position."
Gawlik added that he is proud of the turnaround his team had; while they struggled in blocks on Thursday and mustered one. CMU flipped the switch and amassed eleven blocks, two fewer than Bowling Green.
While CMU did not upset Bowling Green's undefeated score, the well-fought match places them in a strong position for the second half of the 22-game MAC season.
"I didn't think that it was us being poor, I thought Bowling Green just stepped up in that moment," Gawlik said. "I think there's something to be learned there. I think we're a good team with moments of great, and I think great teams operate in the great more often.
"We got an opportunity to see what the top of our league really looks like, we've got a long second half of the season, and we're looking to get our way into that top four so we can get a second run at these guys -- whether it's in the semifinal or in the final."
CMU opened the first set against Bowling Green with strength, allowing the Chippewas to put their foot in the door and play a close set, but could not hold off the Falcons and lost the set 25-20.
Despite having a well-matched defense for the second set, the Falcons' attacks quickly got away from the Chippewas and the second set went to BGSU at 25-19.
The Chippewas found a rhythm and an early lead over the Falcons in the third set and held it for the entire set. CMU stayed in the match with a third set win, its first of the series, at 25-21.
The fourth set was well-fought by the Chippewas and the Falcons but Bowling Green squeaked out on top for a close final set, 25-23.
Junior outside hitter Savannah Thompson led the Chippewas with 15 kills,14 digs, two blocks and an ace.
Sophomore outside hitter Anna Erickson returned to the court as a starter after a few weeks away, contributing 12 kills, 7 digs and a block.
"It feels really good to be back out there," Erickson said. "Yesterday was a bit slower day getting back into it but I missed being out on the court with everyone. The past couple weeks have been fun cheering on and (watching everyone) play different roles, which is what's awesome about our team -- there's a lot of people that can contribute.
Junior middle blocker Maddie Whitfield led with six blocks to go along with three kills.
Senior setter Grace Butler contributed 18 assists, a dump kill and an ace.
CMU will hit the road again to battle against Toledo (2-6) at 7 p.m. on Feb 12 in Savage Arena. The last time the Chippewas and the Rockets met, CMU defeated Toledo 3-2 in Savage Arena.