Falcons head into MAC play with good record

Another chapter of the rivalry between BGSU and Toledo will be written on Friday at 7 p.m. at Anderson Arena.

This match figures to favor the Falcons, who are coming in off of one of the best starts in team history. BGSU is 10-2 in non-conference play and must avoid the upset against the Rockets, who are 3-10.

“We are very fortunate to have 10 wins right now but everyone is 0-0 in the MAC,” said Coach Denise Van De Walle. “The Toledo match is always hard fought and intense so we know that we have to play hard and earn the win”.

It will be hard to follow up last weekend’s performance; which saw BGSU win all four matches at the Country Inn ‘ Classic in Youngstown. The team has only lost to Notre Dame and Cleveland State. In the only home match of the season thus far, the Falcons defeated Cleveland State three games to one.

On Saturday, Anderson Arena will host BGSU’s second MAC match of the season against Ball State at 4 p.m. The game will be special as always for De Walle, as BGSU is her alma mater. Last season, the Falcons ended a 24-match against Ball State and will need another win over the Cardinals if they plan to finish the weekend 2-0 in the MAC.

“Ball State is a battle every time we play them,” said Van De Walle. “We have had a rivalry with them for years. You do not have to say much to get up for Toledo. It is our biggest rival and we know that their will be fans from both schools at the match. With this being only our second home match of the season, we still have to get used to playing at home”.

The Falcons must continue to hit and serve well, something that Coach Van De Walle has stressed each day in practice. She believes that if they are able to do that, they will be able to stay with anyone.

“The team knows that UT has some very strong outside hitters with experience so we must focus on them,” said Corey Domek. “We need to play our game to win.”

“To win this weekend and each weekend in the MAC, we know we have to have some level of consistency,” said Van De Walle. “The level of play picks up once you get into conference play. We have a great conference and there are no easy wins, home or on the road”.

“Coach always emphasizes outworking the other team and we need to do that every match,” said Chrissy Gothke. “If we outwork the other team, they should never beat us.”

BGSU begins conference play with high rankings in the MAC in many of the offensive categories. They are first in hitting percentage (.280), kills per game (16.76) and assists per game (15.4).

“We have focused this week on Toledo and we know that once Saturday comes, we can start to look at Ball State,” Gothke said. “It’s very important to start well because the games before this mean nothing if you do not play well in the conference, where it counts”.

“It’s really critical that get these wins this weekend,” said Van De Walle. “We are at home and knowing how hard it is to win on the road in the MAC, we know we need to have a good weekend. We know we must get wins, especially against teams from the Western Divison because we will only play them one time”.

A 2-0 weekend is the goal for the Falcons and they look for support from the fans for both matches. Coach Van De Walle believes a big crowd could be a huge factor in each match, citing the fact that home court advantage is very important to success. We should all know a little more about the Falcons once this weekend is over, as they try to back up their 10-2 start with a few conference wins.

“We need to start 2-0, with these games being at home,” Gothke said. “That would give us yet another great weekend.”