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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Falcons on winning roll

Following a four-game victory over Mid-American Conference East leading Miami, BG takes its eight-match winning streak to Kalamazoo, Mich. to face Western Michigan, a team BG hasn’t defeated since 2001.

“It’s a big deal to beat Western, some of us have been here five years and haven’t beat Western. They’re first in the west, so it’s a big seeding opportunity if we beat them,” said senior Corrie Mills.

BG is currently 18-7, 9-2 in the MAC, and has yet to lose in the month of October. Western Michigan is coming off a weekend that it dropped matches to Ohio and Kent in Kalamazoo, dropping their record to 16-8, 7-3 in the MAC.

Western is a fast, athletic team according to Coach Denise Van De Walle who has run through the West division competition with their only losses coming to three of the top teams in the MAC east.

The Broncos, a young, senior-less team, are led by a trio of hitters who all average over 2.75 kills a game lead by sophomore Michelle Moore with 4.58 kills a game good for 43rd in the NCAA and second in the MAC.

“They’re quick, they run a really quick offense. They run a lot of quick sets, so blocking will be very important, making sure we stay with their hitters,” said senior Madeline Means.

Defensively, Western is led by sophomore libero Caitlin Strimel who has more than 1,000 kills in her first two seasons and was named MAC West player of the week for her performance the week of Oct. 1.

Like BG, the Broncos have been a strong team at home, winning their first seven games at home before last weekend. Despite their first place standing in the West, had the Broncos been in the East, their current record, an impressive 7-3, would still only put them in fifth in the east.

Despite BG’s advantage on paper, the Falcons are not taking the Broncos lightly, as the current senior class has never beaten the Broncos. It has been a history of controversy between the two teams, as two years ago in Kalamazoo, BG lost on a questionable ruling by the referee on a serve by now-senior Stephanie Swiger.

“It was a heated battle and there was a controversial call. Where the official never blew his whistle to serve and Swiger didn’t hear a whistle so she waited, and waited, and waited, then the official said that’s eight seconds, and he gave Western the ball. It was a situation that cost us the game, which then cost us the match,” Van De Walle said.

For seniors like Swiger, winning at Western is not just about exacting revenge for the past four years, but also gaining ground on winning a MAC championship.

BG heads into Kalamazoo riding a seven-match winning streak in which they have only dropped five games since losing in Athens on Sept. 29.

“I think defense has been very good during this stretch, passing and serving has been very good. But I think the thing that’s been important is that when someone has a down night, somebody else steps up,” said assistant coach Mark Hardaway.

Following this weekend’s trip to Kalamazoo, BG returns home the weekend of Nov. 3, where they face the other top two teams in the MAC East, Kent and Ohio. Both games start at 4 p.m. in Anderson and have potential to determine who will win the MAC East title.

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