Written by: Parker Perry
The University of Akron volleyball team came up short over the weekend.
The team dropped both of their matches, 3-1 to Western Michigan and 3-2 to Northern Illinois.
Despite falling in both contests, the team is still in contention for a spot in the Mid-American Conference tournament. Akron has a 3-5 MAC record and is tied at sixth place with both Eastern Michigan and Ball State. With eight matches to play in the regular season, the team is one game ahead of Toledo and Kent State for the final spot for the postseason.
Akron played from behind in Kalamazoo, Minn. against Western Michigan. They lost the first set soundly by nine points. In the second half they trailed 19-22 before creating a rally that resulted in a 29-27 victory.
Despite their momentum, Akron dropped the remaining sets after the break by close margins. They lost the third set by four and the deciding set by two. The third set was similar to the first two. Akron fell behind early and tried to come back in dramatic fashion. The final set, however, was different. At one point, Akron led 18-13 before seeing that lead evaporate little by little.
The Northern Illinois match did not end how Akron wanted it to.
Akron held a two-to-one advantage after three sets played, but was not able to seal the deal. Akron lost the fourth set by just two points. With the match tied, the Zips also lost the deciding fifth set.
Holding a 10-7 lead in a first-to-15 set, Akron was looking sharp. The Northern Illinois Huskies, however, scored eight unanswered points to stun the Zippers. NIU sent Akron packing with a bad taste in their mouth, imagining what could have been.
The magic number to clinch a playoff berth is seven. The Zips will play three very important matches against Eastern Michigan, Toledo and Kent State in the next month. If Akron is able to come away with victories against those opponents, their ticket will likely be punched.
Akron will face Eastern Michigan and the MAC West leader Central Michigan this coming weekend. Akron will try to put another team behind them when they take the court against EMU. Meanwhile, the CMU game is valuable, but they will enter as underdogs.
Akron is currently treading water. They will be well-served to distance themselves in the upcoming weekends as the opportunities arise.