CMU volleyball splits weekend trip to North Dakota


Editor's note: This article was updated on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 12:08 a.m. to correct which player Coach Gawlik was referencing in his second quote.

After bringing home a sweep at the St. Louis Tournament, Central Michigan volleyball hoped to keep its momentum at the North Dakota State tournament. 

However, it split its matches on the weekend, winning in five sets against North Dakota State (25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 17-25, 20-18) and losing in four to Chicago State (25-15, 25-12, 25-17, 25-22). 

The Chippewas are 6-2 on the season.

First match 

The lead bounced from team to team as CMU fought to win the first set. But kills from senior outside hitters Mallory Hernandez and Anna Erickson kept the Chippewas in the game. In the end, an ace from Erickson gave them the 25-23 win. 

Following a Chippewas timeout early in the second set, Erickson and senior middle blocker Maddie Whitfield took charge at the net to give CMU its first lead. NDSU kept fighting, but freshman setter Claire Ammeraal ended things for the Chippewas as they took a 2-0 lead. 

"We played great at times in those first two sets," head coach Mike Gawlik said. "We came out in the third set and were chasing some points early. For the most part, we got our played in set three and let our guard down in set four." 

Despite recording 16 kills, the Chippewas fell short as they looked to close the match in three sets. NDSU quickly found itself in front and took its first win of the day by a final score of 25-21. 

Going on a late six-point run, the Chippewas looked to be making a comeback. Six points weren't enough as the Bison forced a fifth set, with a 25-17 victory in set four. 

"Set four was a moment for us that I wish we would have pushed back a little harder," Gawlik said. "We made a few adjustments to our lineup to get some fresh arms and legs, and I thought they helped us right the ship. (Maddy Gebhardt) came off the bench, and we were hurting for some points. She helped snatch some momentum back in set four." 

Neither team could pull ahead by more than two points in the final set, and it was a fight to the finish. After reaching match point four times, the Chippewas finished it out on an NDSU error to win the set, 20-18, and secure the match. 

Second match

After a late finish the night before, CMU struggled against Chicago State on Saturday. 

Tied at 7 in the first, the Cougars took control, recording 15 of 16 points. The Chippewas rallied, but it wasn't in time as CSU recovered and closed the set 25-15. 

The story was the same in the second set, as the Cougars pulled ahead and never looked back. Although CMU tried to battle back, its attacks missed the mark en route to a 25-12 loss.

CSU opened the third in control until the 12-point mark. Then the Chippewas caught fire. CMU quickly tied it and then went on its first sustained run. After establishing a nine-point lead, it rolled to a 25-17 victory, cutting the Cougars' advantage in the match to one.

With momentum swinging in their favor, the Chippewas took control of the fourth set. However, CSU again found its footing and used a five-point run to pull ahead. The Cougars held on to secure a 25-22 win in the fourth and a 3-1 win in the match. 

Hernandez led CMU on the weekend with 33 kills. Whitfield recorded nine blocks, while junior setter Kamryn Olson added 52 assists. 

What's next

On Friday, the Chippewas head to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the Bulldog Brawl. Their first match is against Notre Dame at 3 p.m. on Sept. 16.