Fans can push Falcons to a big win

For the nucleus of the women’s volleyball team, this is the match they have been waiting for since they arrived at BGSU. For the younger players, this is the kind of match they envisioned when they signed their letter of intent when they were in high school.

But also, for every student here who calls themselves a real BG athletics fan, this is their chance to come out and support a team that needs their help in their biggest match in years.

Tonight’s match-up of volleyball powers in the Mid-American Conference can be looked at many different ways. It is a match for first place in the MAC East Division and for first place in the entire MAC. The winner will control their own destiny when it comes to winning the division and the conference regular season title. A regular season championship will give that team the #1 seed in the MAC tournament next month, and theoretically, the easiest road to qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.

Everyone remembers what the women’s basketball team has done the past two seasons in advancing to the NCAA Tournament. They dominated the MAC and finished the job by winning the MAC Tournament both years. The only way to assure qualification to the NCAA Tournament in both sports is to win the conference tournament.

This year’s volleyball team is on that same mission the women’s basketball team has accomplished. The only thing standing in their way is Ohio University, the 22nd ranked team in the country. The Bobcats have won 44 straight conference matches while winning three straight MAC titles. No one has stopped them yet this year either, but they still have two meetings with BG remaining in the regular season, including tonight.

Head Coach Denise Van De Walle has emphasized that the season will go on, win or lose against Ohio tonight. She believes that this match deserves the hype it is getting but does not want her team to take its concentration away from the rest of the schedule.

For weeks leading up to tonight, the team has battled its’ way through countless MAC opponents. Not only have they won all 10 of their MAC matches thus far, BG has dominated the opponents. The team has swept eight of the 10 MAC matches it has played. The two matches that did not result in a sweep was a four game win coming over Miami and a five game win coming at Northern Illinois.

Time is growing short to check out one of the best teams in school history. The team will only host two more matches after tonight (Saturday 3 p.m. vs. Kent State and Nov. 4, 3 p.m. vs. Western Michigan).

The biggest match in years though does not have the team fazed. They believe they can win and know what a win could set up for the rest of the season. BG’s climb back to the level of a MAC championship program has not been an overnight job as they have worked hard for the past couple of years to get the program back to where it used to be.

The MAC is no longer a one-team conference with BG contending. It has been five years since the Falcons won as many games as they have won this season so far. Also, it has been 14 years since BG won more than 21 matches.

With all of this in mind, the team still has not seen its home attendance go over 1,000 in any home match this season. That may be the only disappointment so far this year. The team believes that a good home crowd, creating a hostile atmosphere for an opponent, may be just what they need to overtake Ohio.

They are looking for support in their quest to win the MAC. Tonight will be the biggest volleyball match in Anderson Arena in a long time. The question is “Will you be there to support BGSU when they really need you?”

Send comments to Adam at [email protected]