CMU volleyball goes 2-0 over the weekend

Central Michigan senior middle blocker Elly Medendorp spikes the ball over the net during the game against Bowling Green, Friday, Oct. 27, in McGuirk Arena. Medendorp recorded eight kills. (CM-Life | Jenna Spanola)

After securing two-straight wins the week before, Central Michigan volleyball continued its momentum as it took down Bowling Green State University in five sets on Friday. 

The Chippewas had a quick turnaround as it returned to McGuirk the next day where CMU swept Miami (Ohio) on Saturday. 

The Chippewas improve to 11-13 overall and 5-7 in Mid-American Conference play. CMU is currently tied at sixth place in the MAC standings, winning four-straight matches. 

Match One

With the Chippewas up 13-11 in the fifth set, junior outside hitter Lauren Schrock recorded her 18th kill of the night to give CMU a chance to send Bowling Green home with a loss. 

Sophomore outside hitter Maddy Gebhardt secured the win on the next point with a kill, snapping the Falcon’s five game win streak. 

The Chippewas win was the first time since 2014 that CMU defeated Bowling Green in McGuirk. 

“We know that we always feel good going into a fifth set if we’re in one, and I just love how aggressive we were,” head coach Mike Gawlik said. 

The match was back and forth with CMU coming out strong and taking the first set 25-16. However, the Chippewas couldn't continue the momentum, losing two straight sets to go down 2-1 in the match. 

The Falcons got hot early in the third set and the Chippewas were unable to respond losing the set by a decisive 25-9.

“When the wheels fell off a bit in set three ... you just try and get them to recognize it’s one set,” Gawlik said. “We’ve got to focus on set four and volleyball is an interesting sport that even though you get the brakes blown off you by 16 points, you’re not down 16 points going into the fourth quarter you get to reset.”

In a crucial set four, sophomore setter Claire Ammeraal slammed down a kill with an assist from Gebhardt to get the Chippewas one point away from extending the match to a fifth set, 24-20. 

After Bowling Green shot back with a kill of its own, Schrock killed the set winning ball to take the fourth set, 25-21. 

“I feel like in a weird way those two sets, one this weekend and one last weekend that we kind of got slaughtered are good for us,” Schrock said. “It teaches us that even though they have all that momentum it can switch like that, and we can come back and rally through.”

Schrock led the team with 18 kills while junior outside hitter Krystina Kasson and senior middle blocker Elly Medendorp had eight kills apiece. 

“If one person’s not hot, the other person is," Ammeraal said. "If you have two people that are struggling you still got that third option back there and just letting people cool off a bit if they’re not having the best day.”

The Chippewas were heating up on the defensive end as Kasson recorded four blocks and Ammeraal racked up three. 

“It means so much ... just knowing that everyone is 100% bought into getting every single point,” Schrock said. “There were times tonight where we got ourselves down by a few and we’re just like focus on one point, everyone was really rallying for a single point.”

“We’re trying to make our mark here down the stretch,” Gawlik said. “I think building confidence by getting some wins is an important thing.” 

Match Two

Jumping up in unison, Medendorp and Linnea Willer blocked an attempted kill by Miami Ohio in the third set as CMU looked to complete the sweep, leading 24-11. Two plays later, Medendorp secured a point on a kill to secure the sweep on Saturday. 

CMU swept the Red Hawks 3-0 (23-23, 25-20, 25-12) to secure its fourth-straight win. 

In the win, Willer led the Chippewas with 10 kills. 

“Linnea had a tough night last night (Friday),” Gawlik said. “And we go back to her and she’s ready to play and I feel like great players bounce back. Tonight, she was great and I think when players bounce back like that you’ve got the makings of a pretty good spot.”

Ammeraal recorded a double-double on the night with 29 assists and 17 digs. 

“I thought Claire had a really good weekend,” Gawlik said. “She led us in digs by a lot ... I think it’s a little bit by design. Claire can sling it, she’s pretty darn good.” 

Creating pressure on the service line, Gebhardt recorded three service aces. 

“I mainly just focus on my hand contact with the ball,” Gebhardt said. “Just trying to get them out of the system a little bit so that we have a better setup, so that the team can be more successful that way.”

Blocking an attempted kill by the Red Hawks, Ammeraal and Willer helped lead CMU to back-to-back points to give the Chippewas an early lead in set one, 8-3. 

Finding their footing, the Red Hawks came back within three going on a 4-0 run to make the score 13-10. Unphased, CMU continued to extend its lead with the help of Schrock stuffing down a block, leading to a service ace from Kayla Brandon to put CMU up four.

After the Red Hawks got within two, a service error from Miami flipped the momentum back to CMU aiding them to set point as the RedHawks trailed 24-19. 

Refusing to go down without a fight, Miami held the Chippewas going on a 3-0 run to trail by two. A kill from sophomore outside hitter Abby Olin sealed the deal for CMU with a final score of 25-23. 

Tied at seven in set two, the Chippewas broke the tie by going on a 3-0 run aided by back-to-back kills from Kasson. The RedHawks were quick to come back tying the game at 10. 

Following a 5-0 run, Medendorp delivered with a kill securing the Chippewas lead back, 15-12.

Unphased by the Red Hawks run that tied the game, CMU broke the tie apart of a 6-2 run extending their lead 23-20. Willer secured set two stuffing down a kill to make it 25-20. 

Looking to secure the sweep, CMU came out strong going on a 7-2 to start set three. The Chippewas continued to extend their lead going on an 8-1 run to give them a 10-point lead. 

Trying to find momentum the Red Hawks went on a 3-0 run but as they continued to struggle with errors, CMU was able to extend its lead to 19-7. Three points in a row secured from Medendorp with the help of Willer on a block sealed the sweep for the Chippewas with a final score of 25-12.

“Every single game has the same amount of importance,” Ammeraal said. “It doesn’t matter what team we’re playing. We’re getting into that final stretch (where) every single game matters and we need to get as many wins as (we) can. Especially getting a sweep that’s going to be good momentum going into our next couple of games.”

CMU goes back on the road to take on Kent State on Friday, at 6 p.m.