Volleyball sweeps Chippewa Invitational


The Chippewas volleyball team fell to Miami 3-2 March 27, 2021 in McGuirk Arena. 

After an impressive start to the Chippewa Invitational, Central Michigan volleyball kept its foot on the gas pedal to beat Youngstown State 3-1 on Saturday in McGuirk Arena.

The Chippewas are now 4-2 on the season. Youngstown State falls to 1-3

“Five out of the six matches we’ve had this year, we’ve averaged 20 digs a set,” said head coach Mike Gawlik. “It’s not just one or two players that are contributing, but a lot of people are giving gritty defensive effort. When you play three matches in 30 hours, everybody’s tired, so you gotta dig deep.”

How it happened

Carrying momentum from Friday, CMU immediately jumped in front of the Penguins 4-0 to open the first set. Youngstown tried to keep pace, but the Chippewas continued piling on points. Up 12 and looking at set-point, freshman Linnea Willer set up senior outside hitter Savannah Thompson, who took a massive swing to lock up the set for the Chippewas 25-12.

Youngstown went a run to open the second set, but their three-point advantage quickly disappeared as the Chippewas settled into a three-point lead of their own. After surviving another run from the Penguins, the CMU lead grew to four. However, an attacking error and bad set from the Chippewas, opened the door for Youngstown to tie it at 12. 

From then on each point was a battle, but once again CMU found themselves ahead by one-point and staring at set-point. Senior Middle Blocker Maddie Whitfield delivered for the Chippewas, who locked up the second set 25-24.

Early in the third set, CMU appeared to be too much for the Penguins defenders. Looking to avoid a sweep, Youngstown turned up the intensity, surpassing the Chippewas to take a five-point lead, 17-12. The Penguins maintained their advantage for most of the set, but after tying it up at 22 CMU took the lead back. The Chippewas didn’t have the lead for long though as Youngstown rallied to take the third set  25-23.

Dropping the third seemed to energize the Chippewas, who found themselves with a seven-point lead early in the fourth set. Once it reached the 15-point mark, CMU struggled to break through allowing the Penguins to rattle off four-straight points and close the gap to three. That was as close as they got, as the Chippewas recorded 10 of the final 14 points in the match taking set four 25-15.

Key Performers

Thompson, the Chippewa Invitational Most Valuable Player, led CMU in kills with 13, while recording 16 digs. Freshman Aly Gurtiza led the Chippewas in digs with 20. 

Whitfield went 12 of 18 on attacks, resulting in a .611 hitting percentage. Sophomore Setter Kamryn Olson racked up 28 assists, while senior Setter Grace Butler added 20 assists. 

Key Stats

CMU recorded nine service aces to the Penguins three. The Chippewas won the assists battle by 16.

What’s Next

The Chippewas will kick off their trip to Dayton, Ohio on Friday, Sept. 10 at noon against Wright State, before facing Illinois State at 6 p.m.