Volleyball snaps losing streak with win over Akron
Following a ceremony honoring senior outside hitter Savannah Thompson’s entering the 1,000 kill 1,000 dig club, Central Michigan volleyball breezed to a 3-1 victory over Akron at McGuirk Arena on Friday.
The Chippewas improve to 10-14 on the year, while Akron falls to 10-14. Both teams are 4-8 in Mid-American Conference play.
“I felt like our offense was really clicking,” said head coach Mike Gawlik. "We had five players that had double-digit kills. We had four players (with) double-digit digs, three of them with 20 plus. Pretty good effort all-around from everybody.”
How it happened
Akron jumped out to an early 9-6 lead in the first set. Thompson provided two quick kills keeping the Chippewas, then freshman outside hitter Linnea Willer found her groove. After finding a home for her first kill, Willer buried the ball between the Zips’ defense and gave CMU an 11-10 advantage. Although Akron tried to fight back, the Chippewas rolled to a victory in set one 25-20.
CMU notched the first point of set two, but the Zips immediately answered and took the lead. Although the Zips controlled the net, the Chippewas hung close as senior outside hitter Sierra Gray buoyed the offense. The Zips broke through the 15-point mark first, seemingly in control of the set and won the race to 20 points. CMU would rattle off three-straight points to tie it. Akron hung on to win set two 25-23.
Senior setter Grace Butler recorded two-quick aces to help the Chippewas take control of set three. Akron battled back and tied it at five, but senior middle blocker Lisbeth Rosario-Martinez recorded a block that propelled the CMU attack. After an overturned call gave the Chippewas a six-point lead, the Zips began to find their footing, cutting the advantage to three. However, CMU survived the onslaught and locked up the third 25-17.
With the home crowd buzzing, the Chippewas brought the heat for a 7-3 lead in the fourth. Akron slowly rallied back, using a four-point run to take its first lead. Although CMU reached 15 first, they couldn’t shake the Zips, who fought to tie it at 21. Akron took a one-point lead late, but Willer recorded three of the final five points to seal the match for the Chippewas.
Thompson led the Chippewas in kills with 14, in addition to 21 digs. Willer finished close behind with 13 kills while maintaining a .478 hitting percentage.
Sophomore setter Kamryn Olson paced the CMU offense with 27 assists. Butler tacked on 24 assists.
During the match, Butler became the seventh player in program history to record 3,000 assists.
“That’s news to me, but that’s really cool,” Butler said. “That just means I’m getting good passes and I have good hitters surrounding me. I owe it to my teammates for making my sets look good.”
After sitting out three-games due to injury, freshman libero Aly Gurtiza returned on Friday, finishing with 24 digs.
The Chippewas recorded 90 digs to Akron's 63.
As a team, CMU finished the match with a .312 hitting percentage.
The Chippewas welcome Buffalo to McGuirk Arena at 4 p.m. Saturday.