ATHENS, Ohio — The Central Michigan volleyball program saw its season come to an end Saturday night, falling to Mid-American Conference regular season champ Ohio in straight sets, 15-25, 14-25, 19-25.
The Chippewas finish the season 11-17 overall and 5-11 in the MAC. CMU entered the night with a chance to reach the MAC Tournament, but needed a win over the Bobcats (24-4, 14-2) and help from Bowling Green and Kent State.
The Bobcats led from start to finish in set one, taking a 6-1 lead on back-to-back aces by Mallory Salis to force a CMU timeout. Junior Kaitlyn McIntyre recorded her fifth kill of the set to pull CMU within six, 16-10, but it was as close the visiting squad got. OU extended its lead to as much as nine following a double block by Liis Kullerkann and Karin Bull and eventually closed the set with a 10-point win, 25-15.
CMU trailed by just two early on in the second set, 7-5, but a 4-0 run that included three-straight blocks by the Bobcats put the Green and White in front, 11-5. Head Coach Erik Olson was forced to use his second timeout when the Bobcats took an 18-10 lead and despite a kill by junior Hallie Enderle in attempt to spark a comeback, OU scored went on to claim set two, 25-14.
The Chippewas used a 5-0 run early on the third set to take a 11-9 lead over the Bobcats and force an OU timeout. OU responded with a pair of points out of the stop in action to even things up. The two teams saw the score tied or lead change 17 times in the set, with the Chippewas leading as late as 18-16 on an error by Katie Horton. Ohio went on a 4-0 run to claim a 20-18 lead however and after a double block by senior Danielle Gotham and Enderle, scored five straight to secure the sweep.
McIntyre led the Chippewas with 13 kills, while senior Jenna Coates recorded 15 digs in the final game of her career. Junior Danielle Thompson dished out 25 assists in place of senior Kelly Maxwell, who missed the contest due to injury.
The loss ends the careers of Gotham, Coates, Maxwell and Katie Schuette. The four were a part of the first MAC Tournament championship squad in 2011.