Mount Pleasant, Mich. - The Central Michigan volleyball team was unable to close out the home portion of its schedule with a victory Thursday night, falling to in-state foe Eastern Michigan in a key Mid-American Conference match in straight sets, 23-25, 13-25, 19-25.
With the loss the Chippewas (11-16) fall to 5-10 in MAC play and will need a victory at Ohio on Saturday night, plus a loss by the Eagles (15-15, 5-10 MAC) at Kent State and a loss by Buffalo in one of its final two games to qualify for the MAC Tournament at the SPIRE Institute in Genva, Ohio. Ohio clinched at least a share of the MAC regular season title with a victory over Kent State Thursday.
The Chippewas were on the verge of swinging Thursday's match in their favor on several occassions, but were unable to come up with turning points in key moments. CMU trailed by as much six in set on, 21-15, but was able to rally out of a timeout behind the play of senior Katie Schuette. Playing in her final home game, Schuette came up with a big block to start the rally and recorded a pair of kills to pull CMU within a pair, 23-21 and force an EMU timeout. Another kill by the senior pulled CMU within a point and an errant attack on the Eagles tied the set, 23-23.
Eastern Michigan took a timeout to regroup and was able to bounce back by scoring the final two points to claim set one, 25-23.
CMU struggled in set two and was never able to get its offense going. The Chippewas finished the set with a -.036 hitting percentage as the Eagles ran away with things, 25-13.
Following the break in action, the Chippewas appeared to be ready for a dramatic comeback. Tied at 14 apiece, CMU went on a 3-0 run that included kills by juniors Kaitlyn McIntyre and Hallie Enderle to take a 17-13 lead and force an EMU timeout. The Eagles responded however, scoring the next six points to take the set back over, 19-17. A kill by sophomore Kalle Mulford pulled CMU within two, 21-19, but it was as close as the Maroon and Gold would get as the Eagles scored the final four points to secure the sweep.
CMU will close the regular season Saturday night at Ohio at 7.