Netters sweep final match of regular season

Sean Shapiro and Sean Shapiro

Following last weekend’s split at home, BG went on the road to Buffalo and Akron looking to improve their record and solidify a first round bye in the MAC tournament.

The Falcons came through on their goal as they downed both the Bulls on Friday and the Zips in three on Saturday improving to 21-9 and 12-4 in MAC play.

BG’s first match on Friday made quick work of the Bulls as they dominated the net on the strength of junior Kendra Halm and senior Stephanie Swiger. The first game BG jumped on the Bulls early as they went on an eight point run to make the score 15-8.

During the run BG senior Maggie Karges became the ninth player in Falcon history to record her 100th service ace and later would record her 101st in the same match.

“I think its fantastic its something that’s really important to her, I really think it’s a testimony to how good a server Maggie is. Aces are hard to come by in this conference,” said head coach Denise Van De Walle.

Continuing to push their lead BG got to game point on a Swiger kill, 29-17, then despite a Bull point Swiger closed it out with another kill.

Game two began much the same for the Falcons as they scored 14 of the first 18 points. The Bulls didn’t go down as easily. When BG got out to a 16-7 lead, Buffalo put together a combination of three and four point runs to the score within three.

Despite the Bull scare BG continued to play strong and would take the game 30-19 as they dominated the net holding Buffalo to a .000 hitting percentage and no blocks.

“We were controlling the momentum of the game from start to finish on offense including getting several players in the game who don’t usually get in,” said Van De Walle.

Proving to be much closer than the previous two games, the Falcons and the Bulls battled to a close game three in which BG found them tied late at 29.

The next play, Buffalo took the Falcons to game point only to see another Swiger kill and took the lead on a kill by red shirt freshman Shari Luther. The Bulls would tie the game on the next play but they beat themselves late as points 32 and 33 for the Falcons were off Bull errors.

In the match BG was dominant at the net hitting .370 as a team while holding Buffalo to .073. The Falcons were led by the play of Swiger and Halm who contributed a combined 25 kills of the BG’s 50 in the match.

Against the Zips on Saturday BG would bend but not break in game one as they held a constant lead but never pushing past a three-point lead. Up 22-20, BG was able to take control of the game over the last 13 points eventually taking the game on a Swiger kill.

In game two BG had its most dominant game of the match in which they began with a four point run, eventually pushing their lead to 18-10. BG continued to pressure the Zips, as they were lead by sophomore Corey Domek who recorded four of BG’s last ten points giving them the game.

Perhaps the closest game of the whole weekend came in game three for BG. The Falcons found themselves down 5-0 early but refused to give in, as they were able to pull within two at 4-6.

BG and Akron battled back and forth as Akron held a slim lead until a Halm kill tied the game at 22. Despite the tie BG once again trailed at 27-28 when a Domek kill tied the game and a Halm solo block took the game and the match on a block that according to Van De Walle sent a message.

“The only problem I see in that match is after the 10 minute intermission we came out and had a slow start and had to play catch up volleyball,” Van De Walle said.

Despite the offensive explosiveness of the weekend BG’s junior Libero Chelsey Meek set a defensive record against Akron becoming the all time dig leader in school history. Now with a career total of 1,607 digs Meek holds every dig record in school history, the only Falcon to ever hold all the records in a single category at one time.

The Falcons start MAC Tournament play with a first-round bye then play the winner of Kent State and Buffalo on Friday at 5.