Netters drop match to Broncos

BG coach Denise Van De Walle stresses it before every match – the minute you overlook an opponent, that is when they rise up and defeat you.

Saturday afternoon was a perfect example of how tough the Mid-American Conference can be.

BGSU’s women’s volleyball team dropped a tough match to Western Michigan by a score of 3-1, with games of 23-30, 30-28, 28-30, 23-30. The Falcons fell to 23-4 overall and 12-2 in the MAC. Their chances of winning the MAC Eastern Division and regular season titles took a big hit as well as they fell two games behind Ohio with only two games remaining.

Western Michigan took another big step in their season as they moved to 16-12 overall and 6-8 in the MAC. They look to be spoilers in the MAC tournament as they have turned their season around with wins over MAC West Division leader Northern Illinois and Bowling Green.

“We were very disappointed with the outcome knowing we had a lot riding on the match,” Van De Walle said. “They played a really great match and they took our game plan we set out to run and used it against us. They ran their middles well and we just could not stop them.”

It was also Senior Day for the Falcons only senior, Chrissy Gothke. It was a frustrating way to go out for her in her last home game, but the team must regroup and refocus on the competition at hand.

“It was a disappointing way to end the home season,” Gothke said. “The team seemed a step slow throughout and our middles were not clicking. The blocking and defense also did not play as well as they have been.”

The match was a classic example of one team being on its game while the other was a little off. Those mistakes came at bad times for the Falcons and they were not able to recover.

In the first game, the Falcons looked sluggish coming out of the gate, finding themselves down 10-5 early. BGSU battled throughout the entire game to try to get back to even but only got as close as 19-17. They finished by allowing Western Michigan to win five of the last seven points.

BGSU hit .261 in the first game and had 18 kills as a team. They were hurt by six errors but the Broncos were also creating their own offense. Western Michigan hit .474 with 21 kills and only three errors.

The Falcons turned the tables on the Broncos in the second game as they were the ones leading 10-5 early in the match. The game went back and forth with Western Michigan eventually taking their first lead after taking eight of 11 points from BGSU to take a 23-21 lead. The Falcons responded though, as they tied the match up at 27-27. After the match was tied 28-28, BG got a kill from Kendra Halm and an error on the Broncos to tie the match up at one game apiece.

“Domek had a big match for us,” Van De Walle said. “She rose to the occasion and was on fire for most of the match. We needed someone to step up and have a great match. The problems came when we did not serve well.”

The offense was down in the second game, despite the win. The Falcons hit .238 with only 15 kills. They also had one less error as they had five in the game. The Broncos played their worst game as they had 17 kills but could not win with 11 errors. Western Michigan hit .115 as a team in game two.

After halftime, BG expected to turn it on and take home a victory, much like it had done in previous matches that were tied at the half. But for the Falcons, Saturday was not to be their day. In the third game, BG fell behind early and struggled to tie it up.

Midway through the game, the Falcons got two kills from Madeline Means and a kill from Gothke to take a 16-14 lead. The teams traded points up until the match was 26-26. It was at this point that Western Michigan turned it on as they got multiple kills to take the lead for good and go up 2 games to 1.

BG continued their downward trend in hitting percentage as they hit .222 on offense in game three. They did have 18 kills but also 8 costly errors. Western Michigan hit .311 with 21 kills and seven errors.

The Falcons did not fold though with their backs against the wall. They came out strong and had the fourth game in their favor with a 10-8 early. Western Michigan got five straight points after that and never relinquished the lead. BGSU fought valiantly to get back into the match but the Broncos strung together points more often than the Falcons did. BGSU could not get on a run and it cost them the match.

Western Michigan hit .524 in game four and had 24 kills while limiting their errors to only two. BG improved its offense as well as they hit .333 with 17 kills and four errors.

“We wanted to stay within a game of Ohio, but the loss puts us two back now,” said Corey Domek. “Everyone was excited to play for Chrissy on Senior Day, but we just did not play as well as we would have liked.”

For the match, the Falcons were led by Domek, who had 17 kills and hit .324 on offense. BGSU also got 12 kills from Stephanie Swiger, Means and Halm. Gothke led the team with 54 assists while the team got double digit digs from three players. Means led the team with 16 with Chelsey Meek getting 14 and Maggie Karges getting 11. The team hit .262 for the match and had 11 blocks.

“We just need to keep working hard and being aggressive,” Gothke said. “The next couple of matches are very important and we need to win them.”