Volleyball finds success out west

BG’s volleyball team could not be any happier after the holiday weekend. Instead of relaxing and resting over the short break, the team went to Denver for a tournament they captured by winning all three of their matches.

Friday’s opening match was the closest for the Falcons all weekend. The team played the host Denver Pioneers first and it was close throughout. BGSU found itself down 8-0 early in the first game, but fought back to win the game 32-30. The nail biting scores continued when the Falcons won the next set 33-31 after finding itself behind for most of the game. Finally, the Falcons imposed their will on the Pioneers, finishing them off 30-18 and taking the match 3-0.

“This was a great tournament for us,” said Coach Denise Van De Walle. “We scheduled three different kinds of teams to play and it was great to see that we did not even drop a game.”

The team got 11 kills from Madeline Means, with Stephanie Swiger picking up 9 kills in the match. Means added four blocks and nine digs to complete her night.

“The offense has been very good and we need to stay consistent,” said Van De Walle. “Chrissy [Gothke] had a great tournament and was rewarded with MAC East Player of the Week.”

When Saturday came, the Falcons refused to drop a game. They swept UC-Riverside and Northern Arizona 3-0 each and continued to come through when the match was on the line. UC Riverside gave the Falcons three good games but the Falcons prevailed by a score of 30-26, 30-21 and 30-24. Corey Domek continues to pace the Falcons attack, as she posted 15 kills in this match with an offensive percentage of .458. Swiger added 8 kills with Meghan Mohr getting 7 kills.

“We usually have problems finishing games but this weekend was the complete opposite,” said Van De Walle. “Our serving and passing was very good and we met our goals with statistics.”

The nightcap of the tournament found BGSU against Northern Arizona. Kendra Halm stole some of Domek’s thunder by posting 16 kills in the match and hit .500 for the match. Domek was not to be outdone, getting 11 kills of her own while hitting .417.

“This was a total team effort and our team chemistry has been a strength so far,” said Halm. “I think we played awesome this weekend and we have played great to this point in the season. We lost two seniors last year, but this team has held up great for being younger and only having one senior.”

“Halm hit some shots that I have never seen her hit,” said Van De Walle. “She was so dynamic and outstanding against Northern Arizona. With her playing like that, we will have very good depth in the middle.”

The first game of the match saw BGSU double up the opponents 30-15. Closer games were to follow, as the Falcons posted 30-26 and 30-27 victories to complete a sweep of all nine matches played throughout the weekend. The team as a whole hit .350 in the last match against Northern Arizona, far above the .240 that is their goal.

“The comeback against Denver was amazing,” said Van De Walle. “To be down 22-11 and fight back against them was huge. They also had a few chances to win games and we came back strong.”

The team continues to go above and beyond its goals as they are getting the kind of statistics that Coach Van De Walle believes gives the team the best chance to win. BGSU must repeat these numbers if they hope to have success this weekend. They will be traveling to Rochester, MI to play in another tournament. On Friday, they will have a rematch against Cleveland State before they play Indiana State and host Oakland on Saturday.

“We did not drop a game this weekend and that was great but we need to play above the bar,” said Van De Walle. “We have goals for ourselves and we must go above and beyond them to sustain success.”