Falcons are on a roll

A dream season can sometimes come down to a crashing halt in the matter of one match. The BGSU women’s volleyball team is determined not to let that happen though, no matter what the results of this weekend.

The success of the Falcons has not affected the team’s play as they are currently riding a school record 17-match winning streak. The emphasis continues to be taking each match one at a time.

BG will encounter its toughest opponent of the season this Friday at Anderson Arena. They will host Ohio University, a team that has won three consecutive Mid-American Conference titles. The Bobcats are 21-3 overall and 10-0 in the MAC. They are also on an 11-match winning streak.

OU is ranked 22nd in the nation and represent the kind of competition that will determine whether BG is an elite team this season. The Falcons are 31st in the nation after receiving votes in the poll.

“One loss will not end our season,” said Coach Denise Van De Walle. “There are plenty of matches after Friday’s and we know that we will not fall apart if we lose.”

This conference match is much greater than usual. With a win the Falcons will take a giant step in their attempt to win the MAC East. A win would put BG one game ahead of Ohio with each team only having five conference matches remaining.

“It would be huge to knock them off as we continue to try to get back to being a MAC championship level program,” said Stephanie Swiger. “We had goals set a few years back and we have been getting better and better each year.”

The winner will also take sole possession of first place in the entire conference, which would mean a #1 seed in the conference tournament in November if they were to finish that way.

“A win would be exciting for the ’06 team because they would be the ones to stop Ohio’s long conference winning streak,” said Van De Walle. “We have a team that has such great team chemistry and a hard work ethic. They are a special team and this match-up is very exciting.”

Ohio’s 44-match winning streak inside of the MAC dates back to the beginning of the 2003 season.

“We have been working on our shots all week,” said Corey Domek. “The focus has been on our side of the net and what we can do to play well there. We also have been watching some film.”

The match with OU has been billed as “Jam the Gym” by the athletic department. They are encouraging fans to come, wear orange and cheer on the Falcons in their biggest match in years. A big crowd could even be just enough to lift the Falcons over the Bobcats.

“We expect a great crowd, which could really push us over the edge,” said Van De Walle. “We are looking to have over 1,000 people in Anderson because that is exactly what we need to create a great atmosphere. We will be fired up and a big crowd will certainly help.”

“The crowd will be a huge factor if we can get a big one into Anderson,” said Swiger. “We have not had a big crowd since I have been here but a big crowd would definitely be in our favor. It would make us a lot stronger and give us a big advantage.”

The team has seen the quick maturation of the freshman Domek along with the nucleus of past year’s teams finally gelling together. In addition, Swiger and Chrissy Gothke have each received MAC East Player of the Week twice this season. These three players have helped the team set numerous school records so far this season.

“We know that we can pull the huge upset,” said Domek. “The crowd will play a huge role with both teams having fans there. We need a lot of people there to feed off of that energy.”

Win or lose, these two teams will still meet again on Nov. 11th in Athens to conclude the regular season. For the Falcons, they must believe they win now because this is their best chance in years to win the MAC Championship.