Late errors cost volleyball against Ball State

Minnesota junior Anna Erickson, left, and Dominican Republic senior Lisbeth Rosario-Martinez, right, jump up to block the ball during a game against Akron on Friday, Oct. 29 in McGuirk Arena. The Chippewas beat the Zips 3-1.

With the Mid-American Conference Tournament on the horizon, Central Michigan volleyball wrapped up its final road trip of the season on Friday, losing to Ball State 3-1 in Muncie, Indiana.

The Chippewas fall to 11-16 on the season and 5-10 in the MAC. Ball State improves to 24-3 and 14-1 in conference play. The Cardinals are on a 14-game win streak and have the most wins in NCAA D1 volleyball.

“Overall, I thought we had these moments of brilliance where we were playing high-level volleyball and (were) the team to beat,” said head coach Mike Gawlik. “The message to the group at the end was, ‘if we want to go where Ball State currently resides, and be one of those teams competing for a conference championship, you’ve got to play a lot more consistent.' I think our good is good enough.”

How it happened

While momentum moved like a see-saw early, Ball State found its rhythm first to establish a 13-8 lead. After reaching 15-points, the Cardinals came out of the break flat. CMU took advantage and charged back, led by senior middle blocker Lisbeth Rosario-Martinez, who tied the stanza with a block. The Cardinals responded to the threat with a five-point run, keeping their foot on the gas, taking set one 25-19.

CMU jumped all over the Cardinals and built a four-point lead early in the second. Ball State mounted a comeback to tie the match at 15. However, senior outside hitter Savannah Thompson shifted the momentum back to the Chippewas with a thunderous swing. Senior middle blocker Megan Sivertsen immediately widened the gap with two kills and a block, forcing a Ball State timeout. The Cardinals comeback fell short as CMU tied the match 1-1.

Junior outside hitter Anna Erickson’s fourth point of the set three willed the Chippewas to a 7-5 advantage out of the gate. After tying the match 11-11, Ball State applied pressure to the Chippewas’ back row for a five-point advantage. The Cardinals silenced CMU’s comeback attempt to secure the stanza 25-18.

After battling to an 8-8 tie, both teams looked to make a move in the fourth set. Ball State strung together a seven-point run and hit the midway point in control. CMU tried to keep pace with the Cardinals as match point approached, but Ball State’s offense found another gear to overwhelm the Chippewas to secure a 25-17 set win and a 3-1 match victory.

Key Performers

Rosario-Martinez led the way for CMU offensively, finishing with 14 kills while maintaining a .524 hitting percentage. Erickson earned 13 kills.

Senior setter Grace Butler paced the Chippewas with 21 assists and 11 digs. Senior setter Kendall Braate added 20 assists.

Freshman libero Aly Gurtiza continued to anchor CMU defensively, finishing with 20 digs. Thompson added 10 digs and nine kills.

Key Stats

Ball State finished with 64 kills, 14 more than the Chippewas. Both teams recorded nine total blocks.

What’s Next

The Chippewas return to McGuirk Arena at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12  against Toledo.