Swiger helps propel the Falcons to success

What a week it was for Stephanie Swiger.

It began Saturday when she led the BGSU Volleyball team to two big wins on the road in Youngstown. Not only was that important, but it was special to her because Saturday was also her 21st birthday.

The Findlay native’s great week continued when she was awarded MVP of the Country Inn ‘ Suites Classic. This past weekend, in four matches, she showed her complete game. Her 48 kills led the team, and she had an impressive .306 hitting percentage. She also had 1.20 blocks a game, which helped her out when her offense was not on.

“We knew about her since she was a sophomore in high school, and we saw her playing club,” said BG coach Denise Van De Walle. “She showed a lot of interest and kept coming to matches. Eventually, we offered her a scholarship and she accepted.”

“Coming to BGSU was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Swiger said. “I felt very strong about that decision back then and its worked out. BGSU is the best place for me to be.”

The week was not even half over when she was named Mid-American Conference Eastern Division Player of the Week on Monday. This is the second time she has received the award, as she won it last year for the week Oct. 30 through Nov. 6.

Swiger is a junior here at BGSU but it was not long ago that she was dominating the high school floors across the area. The choice to come to BGSU must have been made easier by her father, Dale, a former baseball player here in the mid 70s.

She is currently majoring in Political Science with a minor in Interpersonal Communication.

She is described by Van De Walle as “hard working, aggressive, driven to excel and fun to coach.” All of this has left her as one of the “Go to” players for the Falcons this year.

“The coaches have taught me a lot of the finer points of the game, allowing me to become a much better player,” said Swiger. “I believe they have improved a lot of my skills to make me a more effective player.”

She played right away upon arrival here at BGSU and was voted Freshman of the Year by teammates in 2004.

During that season, she was fourth on the team in kills per game and had five straight double digit kills in some of the very first games of her collegiate career.

Her performance against Akron in the MAC Tournament should not be forgotten, as she recorded six blocks and 13 kills in helping lead the Falcons to a big win.

“She got on the floor right away as a freshman and has never come off,” said Van De Walle. “She’s been one of the premier hitters for this team and will get the players fired up if they need it.”

Last season, she improved in many areas including blocking and offense.

She led the team in blocks per game with 1.09 and improved her kills per game from 2.05 to 2.33 in one season. She recorded a career high six digs in a match against Kent State and had eight blocks on different occasions.

“Swiger is a very important part of this team,” said Corey Domek. “She’s really enthusiastic and we all feed off of that. She brings energy everyday and she helps everyone stay positive.”

“Swiger brings a very high level of intensity to each game,” said Van De Walle. “She shows up for each practice looking to get better, and her understanding of the collegiate game has improved dramatically since she arrived here.”

“She never gets down on herself,” said Domek. “She and Chrissy (Gothke) are the leaders and she does very well in that role.”

Through 12 matches this season, she has followed her impressive first two seasons with another solid year. Her kills per game has jumped again, this time to 2.87 a game. Her hitting is at .266 but she has nearly a dig a game along with 1.39 blocks.

She has given the Falcons the complete player in the middle that they needed. All of that has also enabled the Falcons to get off to a 10-2 start, something that is not an easy feat.

Friday night will begin MAC play and the Falcons will host Toledo. Chances are this weekend will not live up to the MVP and Player of the Week awards won last week, but with the work ethic Swiger displays, anything remains possible.

We have a team this year that is close enough that we can get after one another on the court,” said Swiger. “Our expectations are very high and we believe we can make a difference in the conference.”