MOUNT PLEASANT - With a spot in the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament clinched, the Central Michigan volleyball program will look to improve its seeding as it closes the MAC regular season this weekend versus MAC West foes Toledo and Ball State.
The Chippewas (13-12, 7-7) enter the weekend as No. 7 seed in the MAC Tournament, but could jump as high as No. 5 with a pair of wins and two losses each by Akron and Eastern Michigan. A pair of wins and one loss would allow the Chippewas to move to the No. 6 seed.
CMU is looking to finish above .500 in conference play for the first time since 2008 when it went 12-4.
Friday, Nov. 9 vs. Toledo, 7 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
Promotions: Facebook Challenge #3 - The Central Michigan volleyball program invites its fans to visit its official Facebook page and RSVP to Friday night's event and sign in under their favorite student-athlete.
10 vs. Ball State, 7 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
Promotions: Senior Night - The Central Michigan volleyball program and Athletic Department will celebrate the final game in McGuirk Arena for seniors Lindsey Dulude, Val DeWeerd, Samantha Brawley and Jocelyn VerVelde.
Scouting the Rockets
Toledo dropped a pair of home matches last week to the MAC West Division's top two teams. Northern Illinois posted a 3-1 win over the Rockets on Friday before Western Michigan notched a 3-1 triumph over UT on Saturday.
Junior middle blocker Dakota Harkins leads Toledo with a .292 hitting percentage and 1.10 blocks per set, while junior ouside hitter Lauren Rafdal is tallying a team-high 3.18 kills per set. Senior libero McCall Paynter possess a team-best 3.81 digs per set, but has sat out five of the last six matches due to a back injury.
The Chippewas hold a 40-18 advantage over Toledo all time and have won five consecutive matches, as well as 11 of their last 12 matchups versus the Rockets.
With two matches remaining, Ball State is holding the No. 8 slot for the eight-team tournament field with a 6-8 league record. With a win in either of its two remaining matches, the Cardinals can secure a berth in the tournament.
The Cardinals were swept at home by both Western Michigan and Northern Illinois. Kara Bates leads the Ball State attack and ranks fourth in the MAC with a 3.71 kills per set, while Lisa Scott is second among BSU's starters at 2.47. Setters Jacqui Seidel and Jenna Spadafora have helped the BSU offense rank third in the MAC with a .221 team hitting percentage, while Catie Fredrich and the BSU backcourt rank second in the league with a 4.93 digs per set average.
CMU trails Ball State, 38-29, all time, but the Chippewas took a key five-set victory over the Cardinals earlier this season to snap a five-match losing streak.
Saturday night's match versus Ball State will mark the final game in McGuirk Arena for senior Lindsey Dulude, Val DeWeerd, Samantha Brawley and Jocelyn VerVelde. The senior class has amassed 63 wins during its four years, leading the Chippewas to their first MAC Tournament title in program history last season.
1,000 Kill Club
Dulude became the 15th player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-kill plateau last weekend with her 15-kill performance versus Ohio. The Midland, Mich., native recorded her 1,000th kill in the third set and now has 1,004 kills during her illustrious career.
Making Her Case
Junior Jenna Coates earned her fourth MAC West Defensive Player of the Week award Monday, marking the most in a single-season for any CMU player. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate has eclipsed the 30-dig mark four times this season, leads the league with 5.06 digs per set and ranks 53rd in the country.
Step It Up
Senior Val DeWeerd took her game to a new level in last Saturday's win over Ohio, slamming home a career-high 16 kills, including five in the fifth and decisive set. DeWeerd had double-digit kill efforts in each of the Chippewas' matches last weekend and notched five blocks versus the Bobcats.
It Had Been a Decade...
...since the Chippewas defeated Ohio in the MAC regular season contest. The win was also the second-straight over the Bobcats after CMU defeated them in the MAC Tourney last season, marking the first back-to-back wins over OU since 1994-95.