Falcons down Redhawks

BGSU knew their mission coming into their volleyball match with Miami last night.

They knew Miami liked to change their defense and knew that some spots on the floor were going to be open. Simply put, the Falcons hit those spots to improve to 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference and 13-2 overall. They also extended their winning streak to nine matches.

BGSU defeated Miami University at Anderson Arena last night by a score of 30-15, 25-30, 30-12 and 30-26. Miami was picked to finish ahead of BGSU in the conference in the preseason. Other than dropping the second game, there were not many other disappointments in this match.

“I am extremely happy to have this win,” said coach Denise Van De Walle. “This match scared me. If you look at the scores, you might wonder why but after losing that second game, anyone could have won this one.”

The Falcons were led again by Stephanie Swiger, who turned in another great all-around performance following her back-to-back Mid-American Eastern Division Player of the Week honors. She recorded 13 kills, hit .400 on offense and added eight blocks. Teammate Kendra Halm also had 13 kills and four blocks. The team hit .276 on offense for the match while getting 15 blocks.

In the first game, BGSU dominated from the beginning. The Falcons found themselves up 7-1 after a Chelsey Meek service ace and it didn’t get much closer after that, as BG recorded 16 kills and hit .469 in the game. Miami committed nine errors in the game and hit a poor .029.

“Everyone did really well in the first game and we set a very good tempo,” said Chrissy Gothke. “We took a while to hit our spots that we knew would be open but we were able to get it rolling quickly.”

Swiger also enjoyed another match of solid offense from the Falcons.

“Our offense did great, hitting the shots we needed to hit,” Swiger said. “We were focused and we executed well.”

The second game saw the Falcons in a struggle from the beginning. It was back and forth throughout but BG only hit .136 in the game. The team also committed eight errors. Anytime it seemed that BG would get momentum, an error or mistake would hurt their chances. Miami went up by six points, 24-18 after a kill by Andrea Atteberry. Eventually, the Redhawks finished off the Falcons with a powerful kill.

“The manner in which we lost game two was what bothered me,” Van De Walle said. “We made a lot of errors and it seemed we did not fight for game two as much since we dominated that first game. They came to play in that game but we did not pay attention to the open spots in the floor some of the time.”

The players agreed with Van De Walle that the second game was a set back in the match.

“We were very disappointed about game two because we just missed way too many shots,” Swiger said. “We seemed to let our guard down a bit and we were tipping some balls instead of hitting them. That is all they needed to stay in the match.”

Luckily for BG, the third game seemed like a replay of the first. The team raced out to a big lead and was able to control Miami on offense and defense. The team again produced a great hitting game as they hit .448. They limited their errors and added 14 kills. Miami seemed to let down as well, committing 11 errors in the game.

Miami would not go quietly into the night though, as they gave BG a battle for the fourth game. The Falcons led throughout for the most part, but saw their lead get closed to two points twice in the final 10 points. In the end, BG was able to put Miami away with a kill from Gothke and BGSU was off to its 3-0 start.

“Miami is very big and physical – definitely one of the best teams we played this year,” Van De Walle said. “Swiger had another huge game. The passing was very good tonight and the offense did its job as well. Blocking was not the best but definitely good enough for us to win a match. We came to play again and we cannot be any happier right now.”

Gothke was also impressed with the teams’ performance.

“We had a tremendous night all-around and we knew once we put it together, we would win,” Gothke said. “They have two very aggressive offensive hitters and we were able to slow them down.”

With the win, BG sets itself for a major test on Saturday night at Northern Illinois. The Huskies are 2-0 in the MAC and 9-5 overall. It will also be the first conference road match of the season. Last season, BGSU went 4-4 on the road in the MAC and lost to Northern Illinois at home 3-1 in their only meeting.