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An early ending

It wasn’t the storybook ending BG was looking for Friday night as Kent State ended their season in three games.

“It just wasn’t our day, we did not attack the ball like I know we can, we didn’t get as many blocks as I know we can, we didn’t serve the ball as tough as we could because they were in system almost all the time,” said head Coach Denise Van De Walle.

It was the third meeting on the season for the teams as they split the previous two with the home team winning each time.

Game one started with Kent swinging hard and running out of their Swing offense, jumping out to a 7-2 lead. BG would battle back after Van De Walle called a timeout, pulling within four at 18-14.

The next two plays BG would get three spectacular digs as junior Chelsey Meek almost went over the scorers’ table and then senior Madeline Means and Meek both combined to save a point, keeping the score within two. BG could not take the lead despite strong play as Kent continued to play strong and lead by 5 at 26-21.

Over the next three points BG would battle back, only to see Kent match them point for point, including one rally that included back-to-back diving digs by the Golden Flashes. BG couldn’t overcome the effort and would drop the game 30-25.

“We had to play catch-up the whole game, we had to always work for points in that game,” said senior Corrie Mills.

Starting game two like game one, Kent started strong as they jumped out to an early lead, 10-7. Following the 10-7 lead, Kent was able to continue to pressure as they took eight of the next 11 points to gain an 18-10 lead.

The Falcons continued to fight back, pushing the score to 21-15, leading to a Kent timeout. After the timeout, Mills recorded a kill then helped on a block to spur a four-point run leading to another timeout.

After the second timeout, BG, led by Mills, continued to push back, tying the game at 23 on a kill by Domek. Kent would kill the Falcons’ momentum as they aggressively came out and would take the game on a kill by Kent’s Lauren Jones.

After the break BG tried to change the pace of the game by switching setters from freshman Sam Fish to junior Meghan Mohr.

“We made that change because it looked like Meghan was serving a better ball than Sam. Sam’s been our primary setter almost all season, this is her first MAC tournament to play in and I thought that she was a little bit tight, and didn’t throw up a killable ball enough,” Van De Walle said.

The switch seemed to work early in the game as BG for the first time in the match was able to stay with the Flashes, finding themselves tied early at 10.

BG could not keep up the pace, however, as Kent went on an 8-2 run, taking an 18-12 lead. Kent continued to keep up the fast pace until BG was able to take back some momentum, going on a mini four-point run and taking the score to 25-19.

However just like the previous two games, Kent was able to take momentum right away from BG, and this time, it proved fatal to the Falcons’ season as Kent took five out of the last eight points to taking the match.

In the game BG was dominated at the net as Kent held BG to a .161 hitting percentage, as the only Falcon to hit over .300 was Mills. Mills, in her last collegiate match, hit .455 with six kills, leaving her at 498 in her career.

“I thought that she [Mills] played very well today, she was steady, she took good shots and she provided a big block, and that’s what we needed,” Van De Walle said.

Despite the loss, BG’s 21-10 season was successful as the team reached its goal of 20 wins, gained coach Van De Walle’s 450th career victory and set several team and individual records.

In addition BG had five players named to all MAC team, senior Stephanie Swiger and junior Kendra Halm to the first team, junior Meghan Mohr and sophomore Cory Domek to the second team, and setter Sam Fish was named to the all-freshman team.

The Falcons are graduating five seniors in a class that averaged over 20 wins a season, including a trip to the MAC title game last season. The seniors also helped set an example of what BG volleyball is to the underclassmen.

“Take the feeling of what it feels like to lose and take that, use that to train the whole year. Because that’s what you play the whole year for, to be here – last year we were in the finals, it’s just a big change of emotion,” Mills said.

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