MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Entering Friday night’s Mid-American Conference contest, the Central Michigan volleyball squad had the task of dealing with Buffalo’s daunting wall of defenders that lead the MAC and rank 12th in the country in blocks per set.
By the end of the night, the Chippewas (10-11, 4-5) proved to be the more dominant defense and found their groove offensively, taking down the Bulls (16-6, 4-5) in straight sets, 25-17, 25-17.
The Chippewas finished the night with 11 blocks, including a career-high six from junior Kaitlyn McIntyre, holding the Bulls to a .042 hitting percentage. While the defense was shining, the offense wasn’t far behind as CMU produced a very efficient .283 hitting percentage thanks to the leadership of senior setter Kelly Maxwell’s 32 assists.
The result helped the Maroon and Gold pick up an important conference victory as they make a push for the MAC Tournament in Geneva, Ohio next month. CMU moved to 4-5 in the MAC and will take on Akron tomorrow evening at 7 p.m.
The Chippewas appeared in control all night and took over the first set behind the serve of Maxwell, breaking a 8-8 tie with a 6-0 run to grab a 14-8 lead. Sophomore Kristen Reenders picked up a back-row kill later in the set for a 20-15 lead, forcing a Buffalo timeout. A pair of kills by McIntyre, her fifth and sixth of the set, gave the Chippewas set point, 24-17, before the junior dropped in an ace on the back line for the 25-17 set-one victory.
The second set was much of the same as the Chippewas broke an early 6-6 tie with a 6-2 run that included three-straight blocks by McIntyre, sophomore Angelique White and junior Hallie Enderle to take a 12-8 lead. CMU was able to push its’ lead to 20-14 on a kill by White and eventually closed the set with an ace from senior Jenna Coates and a kill by Enderle, 25-17.
After the break in action, CMU made quick work of the Bulls in set three. The Chippewas’ block forced the Bulls into four-straight errors, allowing CMU to grab a 20-7 lead and after a mini rally by UB, CMU closed the match on a kill by senior Danielle Gotham, 25-17.
McIntyre led a balanced offensive attack with 10 kills, while Gotham had eight and White and Enderle each had seven. Coates led CMU defensively with 13 digs. White also had seven blocks on the front row.