MOUNT PLEASANT - Riding a five-match winning streak and sitting atop the Mid-American Conference West standings, the Central Michigan volleyball program returns to the friendly confines of McGuirk Arena for matches versus MAC East foes Miami and Bowling Green this weekend.
The Chippewas (11-6) currently sit alone atop the MAC West with a 5-1 record in conference play, while Saturday's opponent Bowling Green is the MAC East and overall league leader with a perfect 6-0 mark.
Thursday, Oct. 11 vs. Miami - 7 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
Promotions: Chip Rewards and Pizza Giveaway - Gather a group of four students and show your student ID to receive a free Papa Johns pizza.
Oct. 13 vs. Bowling Green - 7 p.m. | Live State | Live Video | Live Audio
Promotions: Dig Pink Night - As a part of CMU Athletics "Chips for a Cure" campaign and in conjunction with the Side-out Foundation, the Chippewas will host their annual "Dig Pink" night. Fans wearing pink apparel will receive tickets at half price. Fans can also make donations to the Side-out Foundation or purchase pink t-shirts at the events for $10.
Live Stats, audio and video links are all available at the top of the article for fans that cannot make it out to McGuirk Arena to support the Chippewas. Fans can also follow the Chippewas' official twitter account @CMUVolleyball for live in-game updates.
Miami enters the week as the only team in the MAC that has failed to win a conference match this season and has been swept in four of its six matches. Contrary to the Chippewas' current winning streak, the RedHawks enter Thursday night's match having dropped their last eight contests.
Sophomore Meg Riley leads the RedHawks with a 3.20 kills per set average, ranking just outside the top 10 in the league. Junior libero Madison Hardy recently went over the 1,000 digs mark in a match versus Valpairaso, has twice been named the MAC East Defensive Player of the Week and currently ranks sixth with 4.45 digs per set.
The Chippewas are 23-30-2 all-time versus the RedHawks but have taken the last two meetings.
After being picked to finish third in the MAC East, Bowling Green is off to a 6-0 start for the first time since 2006 when the team started 10-0. The Falcons will be playing their third match of the week when they enter McGuirk Arena Saturday night, having already played matches versus Oakland and Eastern Michigan.
Junior outside Paige Penrod ranks second in the MAC with 4.08 kills per set and first in the league with 0.37 aces per set. As a team, the Falcons have stepped up their play during conference competition, ranking first in league play by limiting their opponents to just a 0.126 hitting percentage thanks in part to their league best 3.10 blocks per set average.
The Falcons hold a slight lead over the Chippewas in the all-time series, holding a 25-23 record. CMU has won the last three matches.
Twice as Good
Junior Jenna Coates was named the MAC West Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season Monday afternoon following her performances versus Ball State and Toledo last weekend. Coates ranks first in the MAC with 4.98 digs per set and is a key reason the Chippewas currently rank second in the league in opponent hitting percentage at .175.
Since the start of conference play three weeks ago, no setter in the MAC has been better than the Chippewas' very own Kelly Maxwell. The junior leads the MAC with a 12.43 assists per set in league matches and has dished out at least 50 assists in half of CMU's contests thus far.
Sophomore Kaitlyn McIntyre continues to prove she is one of the best outside hitters in the league as she currently ranks second during conference matches with a 4.43 kills per set average. McIntyre set a new career high earlier this season when she slammed home 27 kills in a four set victory over rival Western Michigan.
Ending a Drought
Central Michigan's seniors accomplished something for the first time in their careers last weekend when they defeated Ball State in Muncie for the first time in their careers. The dramatic come-from-behind five-set victory was the first road win over the Cardinals since 2008.
DeWeerd Named Bill Boyden Award Winner
Senior Val DeWeerd was named the 32nd recipient of the Bill Boyden Award Wednesday afternoon, becoming the second volleyball student-athlete in the award's history. [Full Release]
MAC Tournament Tickets on Sale
Tickets for the Mid-American Conference Tournament held at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio are now on sale. The 2012 MAC Volleyball tournament will take place Nov. 16-18 with the top eight teams in the conference will fight for a bid in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 440-466-1002. [Full Release]