CMU volleyball goes 2-1 at Hawkeye Invitational

CMU volleyball players huddle during a game against Bradley on Saturday, September 2 in McGuirk Arena.

Central Michigan volleyball had a winning weekend go down in Iowa at the Hawkeye Invitational over the weekend. 

The Chippewas dropped game one with a tight loss to Iowa, 1-3 (17-25, 20-25, 25-18, 23-25) on Friday. 

However, on day two CMU came back with a reverse sweep of Grand Canyon University (17-25, 24-26, 25-18, 26-24,15-13) and to end the weekend CMU again went five sets with Missouri State (25-23, 22-25, 18-25, 25-21,15-13). 

The Chippewas finished the weekend 2-1 to improve to 5-4 on the season. 

"I thought we battled through some adversity," head coach Mike Gawlik said. "We know we had (to) come back from behind yesterday against a really tough Grand Canyon team. And even if you go back to the Iowa match, I thought we were right in that match from start to finish against a really big team from a good conference that has good physicality."

CMU faced adversity as graduate student Devon Bright and sophomore outside hitter Maddy Gebhardt both suffered injuries in the tournament. Status on their injures is unknown. 

Sophomore setter Claire Ammeraal led Friday's match with 40 total assists as well as going .529 in hits. She recorded a triple double on Sunday against Missouri State with 52 assists, 11 digs and 11 kills. 

"It's a big deal. Triple doubles are hard to come by in volleyball," Gawlik said. "... It's hard to have that kind of influence on the match. And so, Claire has done that. That's what makes her special."

Game 1

CMU opened night one of the Hawkeye Invitational with a tight loss to Big 10 opponent Iowa. 

The Chippewas had narrow losses in the first and second sets going 25-17 and 25-20.

Looking to avoid a sweep, CMU came out swinging in the third set to go up 15-9. The Chippewas held onto their lead for the remainder of the set, 25-18 to stay alive in the match.  

The third set was all CMU as the offensive attack hit a .417 hitting percentage. After taking the third, the Chippewas battled in the fourth to try and make it to a fifth set. 

After Iowa widened the gap to 7-1 to start the set, CMU bounced back by taking the lead 10-8 with help from Aly Gurtiza on the service line and Krystina Kasson as she recorded two kills and assists from Ammeraal. 

In the final moments of the match CMU tightened the score to 24-23. 

Kasson attempted to tie the match with a call that was first called as a kill. The Hawkeyes head coach Jim Barnes challenged the call alleging that Kasson touched the net. The initial call was overturned and resulted in a 25-23 win in set four and a match win for Iowa. 

Kasson led the match with 14 kills while hitting a .324.

CMU led in all categories except for attacks and blocks. Iowa’s Nataly Moravec led with 41 attacks and Delaney McSweeney had four blocks. 

CMU junior Lauren Schrock followed behind Moravec with 35 attacks. 

"Lauren did a really nice job," Gawlik said. "You know she's from Iowa playing in front of some Iowa fans and she's really grown as a player in her time at Central Michigan ... So, I was really proud of Lauren's ability to go forward and take the swing." 

The Chippewas also led the match in errors with graduate student Devon Bright who had 11 but also recorded 30 attacks and nine digs.

Game 2

After dropping the first match of the tournament, CMU came back to sweep and defeat Grand Canyon for its first win of the Hawkeye Invitational. 

Kasson built on her game one performance as she led the night hitting .633 and led with 20 kills. 

"Krystina Kasson was literally lights out (as) an attacker," Gawlik said. "She had 20 kills and swung 600 that's incredible."

Struggling to find their footing, the Chippewas found themselves trailing the Antelopes 11-6 to start set one. Despite a 3-0 run from CMU to make the score a close 20-16, GCU came back with a 4-0 run leading it to score five of the final six points, sealing the first set, 25-17. 

Looking to bounce back in set two, the Chippewas took an early 12-7 lead, forcing a GCU timeout. Following the timeout, the Antelopes pulled within one reversing the tie. Both teams refused to go down without a fight as CMU and the Antelopes battled back and forth tying the game three times. GCU finally came out with the win, 26-24 to go up 2-0 in the match. 

In a do-or-die situation, the Chippewas did what they did best and battled their way back. Coming out hot, CMU went on a 6-0 run to start the match. As the Antelopes were unable to catch the Chippewas, CMU came out on top with a final score of 25-18. 

Once again, the Chippewas came out strong, going on a 6-0 run again to start the match. Despite a back-and-forth battle, GCU was unable to seal the deal and stop the Chippewas allowing CMU to tie the match at two with a final score of 26-24. 

Unphased by CMU’s back-to-back wins, the Antelopes got back-to-back kills in the final set taking an early 6-3 lead resulting in a Chippewas timeout. Following the timeout, GCU and CMU battled back and forth tying the game four times. 

Breaking the tie first was the Chippewas with a 3-0 run, hitting match point three times. However, the Antelopes refused to give up as they fought off the first two match points, but it wasn’t enough as Kasson ended the game and sealed the deal for CMU, 15-13, with her 20th kill.

Game 3

In the final game of the tournament, CMU faced off against Missouri State. After five sets, the Chippewas came out with the win to end the weekend 2-1. 

Schrock led the Chippewas with 18 kills as well as points with 18. 

Kills on both sides of the net led to a back-and-forth battle to kick off set one. A kill by Abby Olin led the Chippewas to an 8-4 run to take a three-point lead with a score of 10-7. After a back-and-forth battle, a service ace from Ammeraal gave CMU a two-point lead and led to a Missouri State timeout. Following the timeout, CMU took advantage of Missouri State’s four errors to win the set with a final score of 25-23. 

After a back-and-forth battle to begin set two, Missouri State pulled ahead with an 11-6 run to take a four-point lead, 18-14. Back-to-back kills from Ammeraal put the Chippewas back in the game leading to three errors by the Bears to tie the game at 18. With four kills and a service ace, the Bears clawed their way back, going on a 7-2 run to end the set, 25-22.

Looking to take the lead in set three, Missouri State stunned the Chippewas coming out strong going on a 12-4 run capitalizing on five errors from CMU. Back-to-back kills from Lauren Schrock led to a 5-2 run including a service ace from Medendorp to make the score 14-9.

Unphased by the Chippewas run, Missouri State came out of a timeout with all the energy, extending its lead to six with three service aces and capitalizing on four CMU errors. Ending the match with four kills, the Bears took a 2-1 lead in the match with a final score of 25-18.

For the second time in the tournament, the Chippewas found themselves in an all or nothing situation. CMU went on a 6-2 run with six kills in a row and a service ace to make the score 9-5. An error from the Chippewas ended CMU’s run and caused the Bears to go on a 6-0 run to lead 10-9. 

As both teams refused to go down without a fight the lead bounced back and forth between the two teams until a Missouri State error forced a timeout and led to a Chippewas 5-2 run to give CMU the five-point lead. A kill from senior Elly Medendorp secured the fourth set, 25-21 to force a set five. 

Once again, the Chippewas found themselves in set five, looking to come out of the tournament 2-1. Coming out strong, the Chippewas went on a 4-0 run with a service ace from Gurtiza forcing a Missouri State timeout. Finding their footing the Bears managed to come within one going on a 5-2 run to make the score 6-5. 

Back-to-back kills from Missouri State followed by a service ace gave the Bears their first lead of the game with a score of 9-7. A 5-2 run from CMU regained the lead with three kills from Ammeraal, Kasson, and Olin and an error from the Bears. 

Capitalizing on Missouri State’s errors, the Chippewas reached match point, but the Bears fought them off with a service ace to make the score 14-13. Finally, a kill from Schrock ended the match with a final score of 15-13. 

CMU heads to Green Bay, Wisconsin for the Green Bay Invite on Thursday to take on Saint Thomas at 6 p.m.