GENEVA, Ohio - The sixth-seeded Central Michigan volleyball team was eliminated from the Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals after a 3-1 loss to rival Western Michigan Friday afternoon at the SPIRE Institute.
The Chippewas (15-13) and the Broncos (21-9) split the first two sets - WMU claiming the first, 25-21, and CMU taking the second, 25-22 - but the Broncos won the final two sets to derail the Chippewas’ hopes of defending their 2011 MAC Tournament Championship.
Senior Val DeWeerd and sophomore Kaitlyn McIntyre each recorded 13 kills to lead the Chippewas, while junior Kelly Maxwell tallied 50 assists. Senior Jocelyn VerVelde added six big kills in the late stages of the match to keep the Chippewas’ hopes of advancing alive.
After falling behind the Broncos early in the first set, 5-9, the Chippewas battled back to score six unanswered points to take an 11-9 lead on kills by freshman Angelique White and and four WMU attacking errors. The two sides traded points before Western took command with a four-point run to take a 23-18 lead. A pair of kills by DeWeerd pulled the Chippewas within two, but a pair of CMU errors gave WMU the first set, 25-21.
McIntyre finished the set with five kills, while DeWeerd had four.
The Chippewas responded with a 7-2 run to begin the second set on a balanced attack with four different players recording kills and an ace by junior Jenna Coates. The Broncos fought back to take an 11-13 lead, but the Chippewas used another 7-2 run to take an 18-15 advantage, powered by a kill and block assist by White. WMU would pull as close as one point, 18-17, before the Chippewas sealed the match with six kills in their final seven points to claim the set, 25-22.
DeWeerd and Dulude each recorded four kills in the set, as the Chippewas recorded an impressive .406 hitting percentage.
Western took control of the third set out of the gate, taking an 11-6 lead before forcing CMU to use a timeout. The Chippewas could not get momentum following the timeout, as the Broncos took command with an 8-3 run to claim a 19-9 lead. Central traded points with Western from that point on, but couldn’t pull within any closer than eight points as WMU earned a 25-15 third-set victory.
DeWeerd again had four kills for the third straight set.
The Chippewas started the fourth set with two straight points after opening with a Maxwell ace and a WMU attacking error, but both sides battled back and forth throughout much of the following early part of the set. Western went on a run to claim a 17-13 lead and force a CMU timeout, but three consecutive kills by VerVelde and a block assist by VerVelde and Maxwell tied the set, 17-17, in turn forcing a WMU timeout.
After going point-for-point to 19-19, the Broncos went on a 5-0 run to take a 24-19 match point advantage. The Chippewas held off one match point with a kill by McIntyre, but could not pull any closer as the Broncos finished the set and the match with a 25-20 win.