Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
Central Michigan opens the MAC Tournament Friday at 1:30 p.m. versus No. 3 Western Michigan.
No. 6 Seed CMU Ready to Begin Title Defense at MAC Tournament

MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan volleyball program finds itself in a familiar position entering this weekend's Mid-American Conference Tournament at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.

The Chippewas enter as the No. 6 seed, the same seeding from which they won the first title in program history a year ago with a historic run through the bracket.

CMU again will take on No. 3 seed Western Michigan in the opening round, facing off versus their rivals at 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. The two teams split their regular season meetings, with each team winning at home.

Tournament Schedule

Links to live stats and live video are coming soon

Quarterfinals - Friday, November 16
Game 1: No. 4 Northern Illinois vs. No. 5 Akron - 11 a.m.
Game 2: No. 3 Western Michigan vs. No. 6 Central Michigan - 1:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 1 Ohio vs. No. 8 Ball State - 4:30 p.m.
Game 4: No. 2 Bowling Green vs. No. 7 Eastern Michigan - 7 p.m.

Semifinals - Saturday, November 17
Game 5: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner - 2:30 p.m.
Game 6: Game 2 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner - 5 p.m.

Championship - Sunday, November 18
Game 7: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner - 1 p.m.

Scouting the Broncos
Western Michigan won the final six games of the regular season to claim the MAC West division with a 13-3 record in league play. The Broncos finished first overall in assists and kills per set as a team, while ranking second as a team in overall hitting percentage.

Setter Terin Norris led all MAC players with a 11.64 assists per set average orchestrating a balanced offense that is led by Jessica Brown's 3.28 kills per set. Western's backcourt is led by Lena Oliver, who averaged 5.03 digs per set during the regular season.

Tournament Notes

To the Max
Junior Kelly Maxwell enters the tournament playing her best volleyball of the season and coming off her second MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honor in 2012. Maxwell dished out 125 assists in the Chippewas final two matches, including a career-high 79 versus Ball State, to earn the award. No player dished out more assists than Maxwell during league play as the junior finished with 739 (11.92 per set) in 16 matches.

Déjà vu
The Chippewas enter the tournament with the same seed and same path as they faced when winning the first title in program history a year ago. CMU won the first MAC Tournament held in the SPIRE Institute last year by sweeping No. 3 Western Michigan and No. 2 Ohio before taking down No. 1 seed Northern Illinois in five sets in the finals.

CMU vs. the Field
The Chippewas went a combined 5-6 versus the seven other MAC Tournament qualifiers, earning a season sweep of Ball State as well as defeating MAC Champion and No. 1 seed Ohio each during their current three-match winning streak. CMU holds a 218-193 record all time versus the seven teams in the field, having beaten No. 7 seed Eastern Michigan a program high 59 times.

Up and Down
After posting a season-long six-match winning streak, the Chippewas went on to lose six straight in the middle of the conference season only to end the campaign on a three-match winning streak. During the current streak, sophomore Kaitlyn McIntyre has averaged 4.15 kills per set and Maxwell has dished out 14.46 assists per set to spark the offense. 

By the Numbers

#1 Ohio


#3 WMU

#4 NIU

#5 Akron

#6 CMU

#7 EMU

#8 Ball State
Hitting Percentage   .233/1st   .212/5th   .230/2nd   .210/7th   .218/4th   .211/6th   .206/8th   .221/3rd
Opp. Hitting Percentage   .166/1st   .191/4th   .200/6th   .189/3rd   .192/5th   .189/2nd   .211/9th   .203/7th
Assists   12.46/5th   12.31/6th   13.79/1st   12.18/7th   12.74/4th   13.25/2nd   12.02/8th   12.81/3rd
Kills   13.58/5th   13.40/6th   14.38/1st   13.20/7th   13.61/3rd   14.07/2nd   13.15/8th   13.58/4th
Blocks   2.79/1st   2.27/3rd   1.73/12th   1.91/10th   2.01/6th   1.96/8th   1.87/11th   1.96/7th
Service Aces   1.07/9th   1.22/4th   0.92/10th   1.29/1st   1.27/2nd   1.18/5th   1.11/7th   0.89/12th
Digs   16.31/5th   15.83/6th   17.48/2nd   16.44/4th   15.61/t-7th   15.61/t-7th   17.51/1st   16.52/3rd