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Volleyball team captures 14th consecutive win

Match after match, they have been tested. Thus far, the BGSU women’s volleyball team has yet to falter in the Mid-American Conference and they continued their impressive play with another big road win Friday night.

Sunday afternoon was no different.

The Falcons defeated Central Michigan 31-29, 30-19, 30-23. The loss dropped the Chippewas to 12-6 overall and 3-4 in the MAC. BG followed that up on Sunday, defeating Eastern Michigan 30-28, 30-24, 30-20 in Ypsilanti, Mich. The Falcons currently sit at 18-2 overall and 8-0 in the MAC. Eastern Michigan is now 5-14 (0-8).

On Friday, BG could not follow up the record match weekend against Buffalo, but the Falcons still hit well. They held the Chippewas to .130 hitting percentage while hitting .286 themselves. The Falcons committed more hitting errors than usual – 19 during the three-game sweep.

The Falcons produced a balanced attack on offense with five players recording at least eight kills. Madeline Means led the way with 13 while Corey Domek had 10.

Stephanie Swiger and Corrie Mills each had nine kills while Kendra Halm added eight of her own. Domek was the most efficient though, hitting .467. The team received 16 digs from Chelsey Meek and two blocks from Swiger.

“I thought our performance was very interesting,” said coach Denise Van De Walle. “We are thankful to manage to pull off a victory. We played steady and did not panic when we were down early.”

In both matches, the Falcons were plagued by slow starts. They faltered early in both matches, but held on to win both first games. After that, they had much smoother sailing. Against Central Michigan, BG was down 19-11 in the first game but rallied to tie it at 29-29 before taking the final two points and the game.

In the second game, BG held the Chippewas to a .000 hitting percentage. Despite that fact, the Falcons struggled early before pulling away to win the game. They led by six or more for most of the second game.

“We got a great performance from Gothke and we played pretty well after the slow starts,” Swiger said. “We had a good offense throughout and our defense came through for us in the tough times.”

BG recorded its third consecutive sweep of a MAC opponent by showing a stubborn defense. Central Michigan hit .078 and committed 11 errors, giving the Falcons what they needed to complete the sweep. Meek and Chrissy Gothke each had four digs in that final game as the team made up for a less-than-efficient offense as usual by dominating the match on defense.

“We had a few rough games but we were fine once we picked it up,” Gothke said. “We played just well enough to win and getting the two wins was nice.”

The Falcons ended the first half of their MAC schedule perfectly after defeating Eastern Michigan on Sunday afternoon. BG committed the same amount of errors [19] as they did against Central Michigan but still wound up as the victors.

The team was led in kills again by Means, who had 12. Swiger contributed 10 kills while Gothke and Halm each recorded nine. Gothke hit the best on the team, recording a .421 hitting percentage while giving the team 35 assists. She was also one dig short of a triple-double. Halm led the team with seven blocks and Meek had 29 digs as the defense once again rose to the occasion.

“We are happy to get the win but we know we did not play that great,” Van De Walle said. “It was one of our lowest hitting matches and it shows how good we are when we can win while not hitting as well.”

BG started slow in the first game for the second straight match but found itself with a comfortable lead midway through at 14-7. They fought off two big Eagle runs that cut the lead to 29-28 before a BG timeout. After the timeout, Means recorded the kill that ended the first game.

The Falcons jumped ahead of the Eagles early in the second game as well but saw a back-and-forth battle for the rest of the game. BG led 25-24 when another timeout was called by the Falcons. The team never looked back after that as they got four straight kills and a hitting error on the Eagles to close out the game.

The team completed another impressive weekend by getting out to a big lead in the third game and not letting Eastern into that game. BG was up 10-4 and was never challenged after that.

The Falcons will step outside of the MAC for the first time in eight matches tonight as they travel to Fort Wayne, Ind. to battle IPFW. The match will begin at 7 p.m. They will start the second half of their conference schedule this weekend when they travel to Buffalo and Akron on Friday and Saturday.

“It will be fun to play on the road and we know IPFW is a good team,” Swiger said. “They have seen us before in past years and the match should be a tough one.”

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