After four straight wins, Eastern Michigan’s women’s volleyball team found themselves sneaking into the MAC tournament. The team managed to win their first round matchup against Buffalo, 3-1, before falling to Ohio in the following round with a score of 1-3. Coming into the tournament as the lowest seed, being able to upset Buffalo in the first round is more than enough to deem their tournament berth successful.
Eastern Michigan started the tournament off hot, winning their first two sets against Buffalo in deciding fashion. The first set was dominated by EMU on its way to a 25-20 victory. The Eagles played at an even higher level as they took set two by a seven point margin. Jordan Smith capped the set for Eastern with a service ace that pushed the team to the 25 point threshold, ending the set in Eastern’s favor, 25-18.
Set three was the most competitive set of the four. The teams went back and forth until they were tied, 23-23. Buffalo managed to score three out of the next four points, following an Eastern Michigan timeout, to give the team its first set victory of the match with a final score of 24-26. Set four belonged to the Eagles as they left no room for chance and ran away with the set 25-18. Jordan Smith lead in the kills department with a total of 17 on the match while Mallory Rajewski tallied up a staggering 46 assists on the Eagles road to victory.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, round two did not go the same as round one. Unlike Buffalo, Eastern managed to keep things much closer even in the sets it lost. Set one resulted in the Eagles’ biggest loss as they fell 20-25. From here on out, no set would be decided by more than two points. Set two was claimed by Ohio after scoring two points following a 24-24 tie to give the team its second set victory on the match. EMU battled back in set three, earning its first set victory on the match. EMU won the set by a final of 25-23. The following set, set four, was taken by Ohio as it secured its third set victory, as well as, a spot in the next round of the tourney with a final score of 23-25. Smith and Rajewski topped the score sheet again in their respective categories as Smith scored 10 kills while Rajewski put together 42 assists.
The road to the tournament was not easy for the Eagles as it took them a four game winning streak to get in. EMU knew that it wasn’t going to get any easier as they came in the eighth seed. Despite having the odds stacked against them, EMU managed to win their fifth straight match in their first round battle with Buffalo. Despite falling to Ohio in round two, the run will serve as motivation for next season as the team prepares to make another run come next fall.