‘We’re ready for these moments’: CMU volleyball defeats Eastern Michigan in five sets

Graduate student outside hitter Devon Bright hits the ball during a game against Bradley on Saturday, September 2 in McGuirk Arena. Bright previously played volleyball at Nicholls State.

Tied at 16 in the fifth set, Lauren Schrock slammed down a kill for Central Michigan volleyball to give the Chippewas momentum leading into the match point. 

Eastern Michigan was unable to bounce back after recording an attack error resulting in a CMU 3-2 (25-15, 25-21, 18-16) set victory on Tuesday. 

“If we can find a way to win set four, set five is ours,” head coach Mike Gawlik said. 

After being down 2-1, the Chippewas battled back to extend the match to a fifth set to then secure their first Mid-American Conference victory. 

As both teams went into the match looking to get their first conference win, the Eagles are now 2-13 and 0-3 in the MAC and the Chippewas improve to 7-8 and 1-2 in conference play.

“To stay composed and poised in those big moments is a sign of growth and maturity from our volleyball team,” Gawlik said. “Kind of stealing a match that we didn’t play perfect, but we found a way.”

The Chippewas were coming off a road series loss to Ball State before heading to Ypsilanti to take on the Eagles. 

“We say in our gym we don’t want to be perfect, but we want to make sure that we’re stepping up to the plate and going for it,” Gawlik said. 

Central Michigan was able to wear down EMU with 13 aces from six different servers including five from junior libero Aly Gurtiza. 

“I thought our service pressure was really, really good and I thought it was multidimensional. It wasn’t just one player,” Gawlik said. 

Schrock led the Chippewas in kills with 19 overall, five of those coming from the game-winning set. 

“We lean on Lauren to be our aggressive player, and at times it results in us getting blocked or hitting balls out of bounds, but a lot of times it yields points in big high-pressure situations,” Gawlik said.  “I just love that she doesn’t back down from that.” 

Another key player in the match for the Chippewas was sophomore setter Claire Ammeraal recorded her fifth career triple-double with 12 kills, 42 assists and 22 digs. 

“I just thought she had a really big-time match," Gawlik said. "There’s not many times you’re going to see your setter have 33 attacking attempts,” Gawlik said. 

Other standout performances for the Chippewas were junior opposite/outside hitter Linnea Willer recording 11 kills, senior middle blocker Elly Medendorp with five blocks and graduate student outside hitter Devon Bright laying down two aces and recording 16 digs. 

“We weren’t perfect by any means,” Gawlik said. “We’ve got to make some adjustments to be tighter in certain things, but I liked the improvement we made from Ball State. Hopefully we can keep that as a standard.”

CMU will host Toledo on Saturday for its MAC home opener at 7 p.m. in McGuirk Arena.