Volleyball splits final day of Green and White Classic

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

An increased level of competition unlocked a newfound ferocity for Central Michigan volleyball as they went 1-1 during the final day of the Green and White Classic on Saturday. 

CMU, currently 6-6, swept of IUPUI and fell 3-1 to Michigan State.

“I hope we showed ourselves what we’re capable of,” said head coach Mike Gawlik. “When you’re playing against blockers that are really big and physical, in Michigan State, and you’re finding success as an offensive team, now when we play against a block that resembles what we’re able to do, I think we should find success.”

Match One

Looking to rebound from a grueling Friday, CMU opened the first set on fire against the Jaguars. After battling through the opening points, an eight-point run put the Chippewas up 12-5. IUPUI tried to stave off the onslaught through substitutions but couldn't disrupt the Chippewas offensive rhythm. CMU pushed its lead to 12 to secure set one 25-13. 

With the second set tied at eight, the Chippewas began to make their move, forcing an IUPUI timeout. The Jaguars tried to respond, but CMU senior outside hitter Savannah Thompson was there with an answer, as she held serve for six consecutive points putting CMU up 15-8. IUPUI managed to rally back within three of the Chippewas, but that was as close as the Jaguars would get as CMU locked up the second set 25-21.

The battle for points continued partway through the third set, but with the teams knotted at 10, the Jaguars started to pull away. IUPUI methodically went to work on offense, bringing them face-to-face with set-point. The Chippewas went on a run of their own, rattling off seven straight points to tie it at 24. After trading points, CMU tallied three quick points to seal the third set 29-27.

Match Two

Feeding off of the home crowd, Michigan State quickly jumped ahead of the Chippewas 7-4. Instead of crumbling, CMU responded with force, tying the score at 12. CMU exploded with an eight-point run. MSU tried to stop the bleeding, but the Chippewas kept coming as they dominated the first set 25-17.

The Spartans came to play in the second set and quickly put CMU down 6-0. The Chippewas slowly began to work into the MSU lead, with Thompson flying around the court. But no matter what CMU tried, the Spartans had an answer as they pushed the lead to as much as ten and took the second set 25-16.

CMU opened the third set in the power position, as freshman Linnea Willer and senior middle blocker Lisbeth Rosario-Martinez controlled the net. However, the Spartans wouldn’t stay behind long. 

After tying it at eight, MSU gradually increased its lead to six points. The Chippewas managed to whittle away at the Spartans' lead, but it was too late as MSU locked up the third set 25-19.

Looking to turn the tide on the match, CMU opened set four with a flurry. The Chippewas kept it close early on, but MSU saw its opportunity and seized it. The Spartans lead sat at eight as they reached 15, and it would only increase as the set continued. Although CMU tried to respond, the MSU front was too in sync and they rolled to a victory in set four 25-15. 

Key Performers

Thompson led the Chippewas in kills on Saturday, with 21 in addition to 23 digs. Gray was second in kills with 16.

Sophomore setter Kamryn Olson led CMU in assists with 39, followed closely by senior setter Kendall Braate with 33.

What’s Next

CMU opens Mid-American Conference play in McGuirk Arena against Northern Illinois on Friday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m.