Volleyball to be tested Friday
The Eastern Michigan University volleyball team is on the road for cross-divisional play this weekend. The Eagles (11-10, 1-5 Mid-American Conference) will travel to Oxford, Ohio to take on the Miami University RedHawks (9-9, 1-5 MAC) Thursday night. EMU also travels to Bowling Green, Ohio to face the Bowling Green State University Falcons (8-9, 5-1 MAC) at 5 p.m. on Friday.
EMU enters the weekend on a four-match losing streak.
“We are looking forward to playing another MAC match,” EMU head coach Kim Berrington said.
“Both matches are on the road, so we must rely on team energy for momentum as opposed to fans support.”
After playing well in its non-conference schedule, The Eagles’ overall record has fallen close to .500 since MAC play began.
“We have to put together a complete match,” Berrington said. “We’ve been up and down and very inconsistent with our effort. We have to find a way to get kills and improve out attacking percentage.”
Last weekend the Eagles lost to No.18 Ohio (15-3, 5-1 MAC). In the second set, the Bobcats were able to hold the Eagles to seven, its lowest set score this season. In the third set against the Bobcats, Eastern was able to score its first set victory against a top-25 team this season.
EMU sits last in the MAC West division, four games out of first.
The Eagles are looking to end their losing streak Thursday night against another 1-5 conference team. The RedHawks are fifth in the MAC East division.
“We played one of our poorest matches last year against Miami and we remember that,” Berrington said.
EMU faces a tougher test Friday night. The defending MAC champion Bowling Green Falcons had a tough non-conference schedule, finishing 3-8, but the Falcons have been one of the stronger MAC teams this season since conference play began. Bowling Green is tied with No. 18 Ohio for first in the MAC East division.
“Bowling Green is the defending MAC Champs, they’re a powerful offensive team,” Berrington said.
“We must stay aggressive serving and attacking to try to keep them out of system.”
The Eagles co-captain senior outside hitter Erin Short hopes to end a slump of her own this weekend. Short had only two kills against Ohio and only seven against Central Michigan. Short looks to return to form as she has been an offensive playmaker for the Eagles this season, scoring 17 kills against Northern Illinois and 12 kills against Western Michigan.
Eastern’s leading blocker sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Jones sat out last Saturday’s game against No.18 Ohio with an eye injury. No word on whether or not Jones will play for the Eagles this weekend. Jones has 81.0 total blocks this season.
The Eagles are hoping to end its losing streak and build some momentum heading in the rest of the conference season. Miami is also desperate for a conference win this weekend and is also looking to turn its season around. Bowling Green looks to continue its MAC domination this weekend, while Eastern looks for the upset.
Follow Robert Jones on Twitter @RobertJonesEcho.