Senior night looms for BG

All of the elements were there for an upset Wednesday night for Miami’s volleyball team. The elements were in place for a “trap” game that could cost BG a chance at the division title and Mid-American Conference championship. But, the Falcons did not let it affect them as they swept Miami 30-21, 30-18, 31-29. BG moved to 12-1 in the MAC and 23-3 overall.

BG came into the match after playing two talented teams this past weekend. After losing a heartbreaker to Ohio on Friday night, the team stormed through Kent State with relative ease on Saturday afternoon.

The short week had potential for an upset but Miami stood no chance. On Sept. 27, Miami came to Anderson Arena and was beat 3-1. This time, BG made lighter work of the Redhawks. After the loss, Miami was left at 8-5 in the MAC and 12-14 overall.

“I think we came out a bit sluggish to start,” said BG Coach Denise Van De Walle. “We had slow feet and we were not able to generate much from our side of the net. We are fortunate that Miami did not play well either.”

The Falcons clinched a bye in the MAC Tournament in November. They can now finish no lower than second in the MAC East and no lower than third in the conference overall.

The match started well for the Falcons as they jumped out to an early lead but Miami scored six consecutive points to take a 15-12 lead in the middle of the game. BG called a timeout and immediately responded with seven straight points to go up 19-15. Miami kept it close but BG eventually pulled away with another seven point run to extend a 20-19 lead to 27-19.

“We made some mistakes and did not play as well as we would have liked,” said Stephanie Swiger. “We can fix the things we did not do as well but we certainly would have liked to have played better.”

In the first game, the Falcons hit only .143 while the Redhawks hit an even worse .075. BG committed eight errors and had 13 kills as a team. Miami committed nine errors with 12 kills.

The second game began with the teams battling back and forth for control. The mini-runs continued as both teams scored points in three and four point bunches throughout the night. BG eventually took a lead at 12-11 and never gave it up. They finished the game strong as they scored 10 of the last 11 points to win easily. A combination of Falcon kills and Redhawk errors allowed BG to go into halftime up 2-0.

“Our serving was good throughout the match,” said Domek. “I think that was what won the match for us and we certainly could have done better in other parts of our game.”

BG played their best game of the night offensively in the second game as they hit .333 as a team. They had 15 kills but more importantly, limited their errors to three for the game. The Redhawks’ struggles continued as they hit .103 with 12 kills and eight errors.

The Falcons found themselves in a battle in the third game as the Redhawks came out of the locker room motivated to play better. The teams went back and forth with each team having multiple leads in the early part of the game. Miami went on a run to grab an 18-14 lead before a BG timeout.

While things were looking up for Miami, BG slowly crawled back into the game as they eventually tied it 23-23. The teams again traded leads to as late as 28-28. A Miami timeout left the Falcons two points from victory. BG came out of the timeout and got a huge block from Swiger and Kendra Halm. After Emily Schroeder recorded her eighth kill to tie the game at 29-29, BG saw Miami commit two errors to end the match.

“The match could be classified as an ugly win for us,” said Van De Walle. “We cannot afford too many matches like this the rest of the way.”

The third game was much like the first statistically for BG. They had 14 kills but committed nine errors while hitting .104. Miami was not any better, as they also had 14 kills and nine errors but they hit .089.

For the match, BG only had one player hit over .300 and that was Corey Domek. She had eight kills while hitting .375. Madeline Means led the team in kills with 12 but hit only .119. Swiger added seven kills while Halm and Corrie Mills each had six. Chelsey Meek again led the team in digs with 15.

The Falcons will host their final home game of the season on Saturday at 3 p.m. The match will be against Western Michigan and Van De Walle expects a very big, physical match at the nets. It will also be senior Gothke’s final match. She is the only senior on the team but has done an outstanding job in her career here at BG.

“She has done it all here at BGSU,” said Van De Walle. “She set the school record for digs her freshman year and is truly the franchise of this program. She is the glue of our team and finding her was a goldmine.”

“We are going to be really fired up to go out and get Chrissy a win,” said Domek. “She has had a great senior season and we want to give her a great win in her last match at home.”