Volleyball drops to 1-1 in MAC play
Following an impressive start to their Mid-American Conference schedule, Central Michigan volleyball stumbled at home against Northern Illinois, losing 3-1 on Saturday, Sept. 25 in McGuirk Arena.
CMU falls to 7-7 on the season, while NIU improves to 7-5. Both teams are 1-1 in conference play.
“We knew they were gonna push back, and we were ready for that,” said head coach Mike Gawlik. “Last night we won two sets by two points and you feel great. And then we found ourselves in a situation where we lost three sets by a combined score of seven points. We have to flip those.”
How it happened
The Chippewas came for NIU’s neck right from the jump, en route to an early 10-4 lead in the first set. The Huskies tried to respond, but junior outside hitter Anna Erickson made her presence felt at the net, allowing CMU to further add to its lead. NIU couldn’t find an answer for the Chippewas aggression as CMU took set one 25-14.
The Huskies awoke from their offensive slumber, quickly jumping in front of the Chippewas in set two. In front of an energetic home crowd, CMU fought its way back, tying things at 15 and recover the lead. With a small advantage, the Chippewas looked to shut the door on NIU. However, after a CMU timeout following a lifting call, NIU found the edge needed to take the second set 25-23.
After dropping set two, the Chippewas started the third set on fire with a 13-8 lead. NIU answered with a run of its own, rattling off eight straight points to take control. The Huskies kept their advantage coming down the home stretch of the third, but CMU didn’t let up.
After a timeout, the Chippewas stormed the court and tied it at 23-23. The effort wasn’t enough as the Huskies won set three 26-24.
Once again, CMU took an early lead in the fourth set, but it didn’t last long as the Huskies tied it at 12. The Chippewas responded to the NIU run and took a two-point advantage. However, the Huskies mounted another comeback to recapture the lead. After taking control, NIU kept the pressure on CMU and sealed set four 25-22.
Freshman outside hitter Linnea Willer led the Chippewas in kills with 16 while maintaining a .429 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Savannah Thompson added 12 kills and 14 digs.
Senior setter Grace Butler led CMU with 30 assists.
CMU was led on defense by freshman libero Aly Gurtiza, who recorded 24 digs.
CMU committed nine fewer attacking errors than NIU, but the Huskies won the digs battle by three.
The Chippewas continue MAC play when they head to Kalamazoo to face Western Michigan on Friday, Oct. 1, at 6 p.m.