MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Central Michigan volleyball team dropped a Mid-American Conference cross divisional contest to Kent State in straight sets Saturday evening, 25-23, 27-25, 25-21.
The Chippewas (8-10, 2-4) were their own worst enemy as they gave the Golden Flashes (10-9, 3-3) 37 points on errors and hit just .150 as a team.
Despite a struggle to find their groove offensively, the Chippewas nearly turned the match in their favor in each of the first two sets, but were unable to do so. CMU and Kent State were tied a total of 27 times and saw the lead changed a combined 10 times through the first two sets, but the Golden Flashes went into the break with a 2-0 lead.
Trailing 8-7 in the first set, the Chippewas went on a 4-0 run that included a double block by junior Hallie Enderle and sophomore Kalle Mulford and a solo block by Kelly Maxwell to take an 11-8 lead and force a KSU timeout. An ace later in the set by freshman Melissa Fuchs gave the Chippewas a 23-20 advantage, but the Golden Flashes scored the next five points to claim the set, 25-23.
Junior outside hitter Kaitlyn McIntyre, who was honored for her 1,000th career kill prior to the start of the match, helped the offense finds its groove in the second set. McIntyre finished the set with eight kills, one of which gave CMU a 19-18 lead late in the set that forced Kent State into a timeout. The Golden Flashes had set point, 24-22, late in the set before back-to-back kills by senior Katie Schuette and McIntyre evened things at 24 apiece. A block by sophomore Angelique White held off set point again, but a kill by Bianca Cifaldi and a solo block by Kent’s Kelly Hutchison gave KSU a 27-25 win.
The Golden Flashes jumped out to a big advantage in the third set, but the Chippewas did not go down without a fight. Kent led by as much as seven, 19-12, before a 4-0 run that included three kills by McIntyre on assists from senior libero Jenna Coates pulled the Chippewas within three, 19-16. CMU was able to get as close as two, 23-21, on a double block by White and Enderle, but Hutchison slammed home a kill following a KSU timeout and Bridget Wilhelm closed the match with an ace for a 25-21 win.
McIntyre led the Chippewas with a match-high 18 kills, while Enderle had nine kills and four blocks. Maxwell dished out 39 assists and Coates led the way defensively with a match-high 18 digs.
CMU is back in action next weekend for a pair of road matches versus MAC East opponents. The Chippewas will take on Miami Friday night at 7 before battling defending MAC Tournament champion Bowling Green Saturday evening at 5.