MAC hopes dashed as Volleyball falls to Toledo 3-1

The Chippewas volleyball team celebrates after a point during their 3-1 win against Toledo Nov. 12 in McGuirk Arena.

Looking to continue the push for the Mid-American Conference tournament, Central Michigan volleyball battled Toledo on Saturday in McGuirk Arena, losing 3-1.

The Chippewas fall to 12-17 on the season and 6-11 in the MAC. Toledo improves to 19-10 and 10-7 in conference play. 

"I really like our grit, to kind of get back into the match," said head coach Mike Gawlik. "I wasn't really happy with the way we came out of the gates for set two, but I did like how we responded. Early on in the match I thought it was going pretty well. They just kind of stacked some points on us and killed the vibe of our group."

CMU recognized all nine seniors in a postgame ceremony. The team also honored senior middle blocker Lisbeth Rosario-Martinez before the match by playing the Dominican Republic National Anthem. 

How it happened

Early in the first, Toledo established an 11-7 lead and forced a timeout from the Chippewas. Following the break, CMU responded, using a 9-1 run to take control. Senior outside hitter Savannah Thompson ensured the Chippewas kept their foot on the gas and pushed the advantage to six. The Rockets strung together a five-point run to make it close late, but CMU held on to win set one 25-23.

After a back-and-forth battle, Toledo began to pull away in the second. Down 10-6, the Chippewas took a timeout. 

The Rockets didn’t let that halt their offensive rhythm as they pushed the lead to six. CMU needed a spark, and Rosario-Martinez stepped up. She buried back-to-back shots late, making the score 24-23.Toledo ultimately locked up the second 25-23 to tie the match at one.

Neither team could break away as the third set started with a 9-9 tie. The Rockets struck first and found themselves with a three-point lead following an attack error from CMU. 

Although Toledo continued to apply pressure, the Chippewas weren’t going to quit on the match. Thompson and Rosario-Martinez stepped up to keep CMU close, but a second overturned kill took the wind out of the Chippewas’ sails. Toledo secured the stanza 25-19.

The knock-down-drag-out pace of the match continued into the fourth, as the teams found themselves tied at 8. Toledo quickly recorded four of five points, forcing the Chippewas to take a timeout. 

The Rockets kept their foot on the gas following the break as the lead continued to swell. Thompson tried to will CMU into the match with a late kill, but Toledo stood tough. The Rockets grabbed the fourth set 25-13 to take home a 3-1 match victory.

Key Performers

Rosario-Martinez led the Chippewas’ offense with 13 kills while maintaining a .455 hitting percentage. Thompson finished close behind with 12 kills and 15 digs.

Senior setter Grace Butler finished with 23 assists and nine digs. Sophomore setter Kamryn Olson added 20 assists.

Freshman libero Aly Gurtiza came up big on the defensive end for CMU, finishing with 26 digs.

Key Stats

Toledo finished the day with 13 total blocks, six more than the Chippewas.

What’s Next

The Chippewas will wrap up the regular season at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17 in McGuirk Arena against Eastern Michigan.