Netters top Kent State, lose to Ohio in hard-fought weekend homestand

Sean Shapiro and Sean Shapiro

Coming into the weekend, the BG volleyball team was a perfect 12-0 at home, but facing off against both Kent and Ohio proved to be their toughest home stand of the weekend as they would win a tough one in five, then fall for the first time at home this season.

Following a Parents’ Night presentation, four games of back and forth action took place. Saturday’s match vs. Kent State came down to one pivotal game. BG answered the challenge, winning the match in five (30-23, 30-25, 31-33, 26-30, 15-13) gaining important ground in the MAC East.

Game one began with both teams showing lots of energy, as the teams battled to close one early at 10-12, in favor of the Golden Flashes. Kent took the next point, but on the next play, senior Stephanie Swiger was able to battle off three consecutive Kent blocks and record a momentum-changing kill.

Following Swiger’s kill, both teams battled back to 18-19, in favor of Kent, when freshman Sam Fish and Senior Elizabeth Simon both recorded spectacular digs leading to another Swiger kill. Following the play, the Falcons took the next two points, prompting a Golden Flash timeout with the score 21-19 BG.

Following the timeout, BG would take five of the next eight points, highlighted by junior Chelsey Meek, who recorded her 538th dig of the season, breaking her own school record, set last season. BG never allowed Kent back in the game as they took the game on a kill by junior Meghan Mohr, 30-23.

“It feels great to beat my previously made record, and I know I have to beat it again next year,” Meek said.

After an 8-8 tie early in game two, the Falcons went on a four-point run, highlighted by a solo block from junior Kendra Halm. BG continued to carry the momentum, taking a 16-9 lead as Mohr made a point saving dig going into the crowd leading to a Swiger kill.

For the rest of the game, BG and Kent would match each other point for point, and eventually BG took the game on another Swiger kill.

After taking the first two games, BG could not put away Kent in games three or four, both of which were highly contested games, including game three, which was tied at 27 late, only to see Kent take the game 33-31.

“I could tell that things were starting to pick up for Kent, but what really picked up for them was their defense,” said coach Denise Van De Walle.

The fourth game, Kent continued where they left off in game three as the Golden Flashes held the lead for the entire game and were able take the win, despite BG recording 22 kills, the most they recorded in the match.

Like the four previous games, BG and Kent began to play closely as BG took a three-point lead at 12-10, thanks in a large part to Swiger, who had three key kills, finding holes in the Kent defense.

Kent then pushed the score to 10-12 on a block error by the Falcons. A Corey Domek kill and an attack error by Halm left the score 13-12 BG. BG went to match point on an error by Kent, only to see the Flashes score again. BG then took the game on a kill by Mohr.

“The end of game five was amazingly exciting, and I was really proud how every person on the team stepped up, it was all-out effort, which we needed to beat a team like Kent State,” Swiger said.

Following the win over Kent, BG faced off against No. 16 Ohio University, a match that despite the loss (25-30, 28-30, 30-32) was one of the most exciting of the season.

After an early 10-10 tie in the game, Ohio was able to jump out to an 18-12 lead on the strength of several Falcon attacks landing out of bounds. The Bobcats continued to play well, pushing the score to 26-19 before Van De Walle called a timeout.

Despite three more Bobcat points, BG wouldn’t go away easily, pushing for six straight points before an OU timeout at 25-29. The Ohio timeout paid off as they took the game on the next point.

OU was able to set the pace early in game two as they pushed to a 17-13 lead. BG answered back as senior Corrie Mills recorded a momentum-killing point.

With the score at 28-22 in Ohio’s favor, BG began to play like it had all season at home. BG outscored OU 4-1 over the next five points, than Halm recorded two kills and Meek took advantage of an aggressive OU front line, dropping a ball deep to pull the score to 28-29. BG couldn’t hold off the Bobcats as Halm’s next attack was stuffed at the net.

Like game one and two, game three started with Ohio taking an early lead, 17-13. The several points brought both BG and the home crowd back into the game as they pulled within two at 18-20.

The Falcons continued to hang with the Bobcats as they forced ties at the 22- and 24-point marks. Down late at 25-27, BG pulled within one with a kill by Mohr, only to see OU regain its two-point lead on the next play. Despite the OU point, BG would tie the game at 28 leading to an OU timeout.

After the timeout, a BG serving error gave OU the lead again, only to see Swiger tie it up with a kill. Ohio took the point right back on the next play as Domek tied it at 30. OU took the game and the match over the next two points.

“We just didn’t have a consistent offense, we had an offense and we ran it, it just wasn’t consistent,” Van De Walle said.