CMU volleyball wins fifth straight in sweep at Kent State

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)

Sliding across the floor to save the ball, Central Michigan volleyball junior libero Aly Gurtiza helped lead to a block from senior middle blocker Elly Medendorp to give CMU the 15-14 lead in set two.  Medendorp's block would turn the tide leading to a sweep (25-12, 25-18, and 25-16) against Kent State on Friday for the Chippewas fifth straight win. 

“Elly just does a really nice job as our lone middle blocker,” head coach Mike Gawlik said. “… The one thing that we know we’re going to get from Elly is she’s going to work her tail off. She works really, really hard to be an option in transition as an offensive weapon and really just fighting to get hands on the ball.”

Creating pressure at the service line, the Chippewas recorded 12 service aces five coming from junior Linnea Willer. 

“It helps to be aggressive from the service line,” Gawlik said. “... It was a really great phase of our game tonight. I thought we created those opportunities ... we did a really nice job of taking balls and turning them into points on our side to keep our servers hot on the service line to go for another opportunity.”

The Chippewas move to 13-13 overall and 7-7 in the Mid-American Conference. CMU is currently tied for sixth place with Bowling Green for the final spot in the MAC tournament. 

“There’s no magic combo nation of things that happen where other teams let us in for free,” Gawlik said. “We’ve got to earn our way in and we’ve got to fight our way in and I like that we’ve been staying focused.”

Junior outside hitter Lauren Schrock led the Chippewas with 13 kills, eight of them coming from set one. 

“Lauren is swinging incredibly well,” Gawlik said. “She did a really nice job of moving the ball around, she got a seam in the block when blockers weren’t there right in front of her, she was taking advantage of that, but I do think that’s a byproduct of a full team effort. Lauren certainly had the magic touch there in the first set and continued that throughout the match."  

As Kent State struggled to find a rhythm in the first set, CMU went on a 9-2 run aided by three kills from Schrock to take a 10-point lead. Continuing to make her presence known, Schrock knocked down back-to-back kills to give the Chippewas the set one victory, 25-12. 

Continuing to block Kent State's kill attempts, junior opposite hitter Krystina Kasson came up with a block of her own to send the Chippewas on a 9-3 run to make the score 23-17. A service error from the Golden Flashes followed by a kill from sophomore outside hitter Maddy Gebhardt gave CMU the 2-0 match lead with a score of 25-18. 

Refusing to go down without a fight in the third set, the Golden Flashes went on a 4-0 run as CMU recorded two errors in a row to cut the lead to four. Unphased, the Chippewas flipped the momentum back in their hands going on a 3-0 run aided by two kills from Medendorp to extend the score 19-12. Despite Kent State recording two kills in a row, a service ace from Kayla Brandon and a final kill from Schrock secured the sweep for the Chippewas, 25-16. 

CMU continues with its battle to make the MAC tournament taking on Kent State Saturday at 4 P.M.