TAMPA, Fla. - Playing in the final game of their Central Michigan careers, seniors Lindsey Dulude, Val DeWeerd and Jocelyn VerVelde powered the Chippewas past South Florida in straight sets, 25-23, 25-16, 25-20.
The Chippewas (16-14) accomplished a feat that most teams in the country do not have the opportunity to do by winning their final match of the season. Dulude, DeWeerd and VerVelde each finished the night with 12, 11 and 10 kills to pace the Maroon and Gold.
With the victory, the Chippewas finished the season above .500 for the sixth time in nine seasons under head coach Erik Olson.
The senior trio of attackers combined for 14 kills in the first set and was aided by an additional four from sophomore Kaitlyn McIntyre as the Chippewas claimed set one, 25-23. After falling behind by as much as three midway through the set, 14-11, CMU went on a went on an 8-3 run capped on a kill by Dulude to claim a 19-17 advantage and force a timeout by the Bulls (17-15). After back-to-back points by USF tied things back up, DeWeerd put away a kill to give the Chippewas the lead back, 20-19, and VerVelde recorded a pair of kills down the stretch to secure the set.
Set two was all CMU as the Chippewas turned a 7-7 tie into a 17-9 advantage with a 10-2 run midway through. Junior Jenna Coates served six-straight points, with a pair of aces, for the Chippewas and junior Kelly Maxwell recorded CMU's third ace of the run, forcing USF to burn both of its timeouts. The Bulls were unable to get closer than within seven the rest of the set and sophomore Hallie Enderle secured the 25-16 victory with a kill, sending CMU to the break with a 2-0 lead.
Five players each recorded three kills apiece in the final set as the senior class passed the torch in a sense to Enderle and McIntyre. A pair of runs loomed key for the Chippewas to capture the sweep as they outscored the Bulls 5-2 midway through to grab a 20-17 lead. After USF pulled within one, 21-20, the Chippewas scored the final four point, including a pair of kills by DeWeerd and an ace from McIntyre.
The Chippewas finished the night with a .361 hitting percentage, recording 47 kills on 97 attacks with just 12 errors. Maxwell guided the offense with 37 assists, while a balanced defense effort saw four players record at least seven digs.