CMU volleyball falls in five sets to Buffalo


Sophomore defensive specialist/libero Alina Anderson, center, dives for the ball as senior middle blocker Elly Medendorp, left, and sophomore setter Claire Ammeraal, right, watch during a game against Toledo, Sunday, Oct. 1 in McGuirk Arena. Anderson recorded three digs. (CM-Life | Marie Underwood)

Down by one, Central Michigan volleyball head coach Mike Gawlik called a timeout in hopes of stopping the run Buffalo University volleyball was on. 

Following the timeout, sophomore outside hitter Maddy Gebhardt went to the service line recording a service ace to lead to three kills in a row to win set four, tying the match at two on Thursday. 

Unable to keep the momentum going in set five, CMU fell to the Bulls with a final match score of 5-2 (25-22, 23-25,25-22, 24-21, and 11-15). 

“I think we saw some really big momentum shifts scattered throughout (the) sets to put ourselves in a position to win,” Gawlik said. “We probably needed ... one more kill, a lot of those things you can play the coulda, woulda, shoulda game all night on the bus ride to Akron ...  we choose not to do that.”

The Chippewas fall to 3-3 in Mid-American Conference play and 9-9 overall. Buffalo moves to 4-1 in the MAC and 14-3 overall. 

“Yeah, we want to win,” Gawlik said. “But if we can say 'hey we put ourselves in a position to win and we played hard from start to finish then I can handle the result.'” 

Junior outside hitter Linnea Willer led CMU with 19 kills. 

“Linnea had a rockstar performance for us tonight,” Gawlik said. “You know she’s always been that kind of team player and she’s really developed in Krystina Kasson’s absence. She’s done some really nice things for us and been a presence out there for us on the right-side finding points for us.” 

Capitalizing on two Chippewas errors, the Bulls were able to take an early 4-0 lead in set one, but an error of their own sparked CMU momentum. Four points in a row aided by two service aces from junior defensive specialist Emma Dukate, tied the game at eight.

CMU had a total of 10 service aces on the night, three of which came from Gebhardt. 

“It was one thing we really wanted to do with our game planning for Buffalo,” Gawlik said. “We knew we had to take some chances from the service line and I thought we did a really nice job.”

Three errors from Buffalo combined with a sneaky set overkill from sophomore setter Claire Ammeraal, the Chippewas were able to extend their lead to 20-16 forcing a Bulls timeout. Despite a hard-fought effort from Buffalo, a kill from senior middle Elly Medendorp sealed the deal for CMU with a final score of 25-22. 

The Chippewas and the Bulls went back and forth on a volley to start the second set. Two attack errors from the Chippewas aided by a kill from the Bulls, gave Buffalo momentum to tie the game at ten. 

After a back-and-forth battle of lead changes and ties, a kill from Medendorp broke the tie and a kill from sophomore outside hitter Abby Olin kept CMU leading by two with a score of 15-13. A 4-0 run aided by a CMU service error, allowed Buffalo to climb its way back and tie the game at 21.

Back-to-back points from Julianna Lopez broke the tie and put the Bulls up by two forcing a Chippewas timeout. A kill from Gebhardt followed by a service ace tied the game back up at 23. Coming back with back-to-back points of her own Abby Leigh secured the win for the Bulls with a final score of 25-23 and tied the match at two. 

Unphased by CMU's run to start set three, the Bulls tied the game at seven with back-to-back points from sisters Abby and Mandy Leigh. A service error from the Bulls broke the tie leading to a 3-0 run to give the Chippewas a three-point lead forcing a Buffalo timeout as it trailed 15-12. Finding their momentum following the timeout, the Bulls went on an 8-4 run to take a 20-19 lead. Buffalo took set three with a 6-3 run to win with a final score of 25-22. 

In a do-or-die situation and tied at 14 in the fourth set, a service error from the Bulls broke the tie and aided the Chippewas to a two-point lead, 18-16. Buffalo had all the momentum going on a 5-2 run to take the lead and force a CMU timeout leading 21-20. A service ace from Gebhardt lead to two kills in a row from Medendorp and a final kill from Olin to tie the match at 2 with a score of 24-21. 

Four sets down and one to go, the Chippewas and the Bulls refused to go down without a fight. Each time a point was scored, the other team would come back to tie it up, until a solo block from freshman setter Mandy Leigh gave the Bulls its biggest lead of the match with a score of 13-10. Keeping the momentum on its side, Buffalo secured the win with a kill and a final score of 15-11. 

CMU has a quick turnaround, heading to Akron, Ohio on Friday to take on the Zips at 6 p.m.