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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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Home court advantage

Down 2-0 in the final match of the Best Western Invitational, head coach Denise Van De Walle wasn’t happy. BG was getting beat in almost every aspect of the game. Even worse, they were beating themselves, with 22 total errors in the first two games.

“The first thing we talked about in the locker room was following directions and being aggressive. The first two games, we were very reactionary to [Valparaiso] waiting to see what they were going to do. And we just kind of laid down and we got on [the players] pretty good in between games two and three,” Van De Walle said.

The Falcons responded to the coach’s speech and won the first game out of the break coming back from an early five-point deficit.

Late in the game with the Falcons holding a slim 28-26 lead, Valparaiso junior Allison Sears went down with a knee injury. Sears had been giving the Falcons trouble all match with 12 kills in the first three games.

“I feel really bad that [Sears] went out of the match for them because she was huge for them. You hate to see that happen. But I am just so thrilled that we still had the mental toughness to not let that distract us,” Van De Walle said.

Following Sears’ injury, the Falcons were able to hold off a two-point Crusader run, winning 30-28 on a kill by senior Stephanie Swiger.

BG used the momentum they built up in game three to come out and dominate game four.

Game four was where the Falcons took control of the match as they hit .500 with only two errors. The Falcons won the game 30-23, tying the match at 2-2.

The Falcons continued their run of victories in game five with a 15-10 victory highlighted by nine kills between sophomore Corey Domek and seniors Swiger, and Meghan Mohr.

After the near-collapse in games one and two, the Falcons came back to have a solid game and win the tournament.

“We came out with so much confidence [after the break] and definitely wanted to prove that this was our home court. We showed we had Falcon pride and showed them who’s the boss,” junior Chelsey Meek said.

Meek led the Falcons defensively with 32 digs and no errors for the game.

The Crusaders were the first team to present a significant challenge to the Falcons. Both teams swept DePaul and Duquesne 3-0.

In the Falcons’ first two games of the tournament, they were dominant at the net, hitting well over .300 in both matches and holding DePaul to a .010 hitting percentage in the first game.

For their play in the tournament, three Falcons were named to the all-tournament team: Meek, Mohr and the tournament’s MVP, Swiger.

For the weekend, Swiger had 34 kills, 22 in the championship, hitting .423 – all of this the day before her 22nd birthday.

“It was relief when the match was finally over. Obviously it was a pressure situation, but I was so excited because I think that was a testament to our talent and we can come through in a pressure situation and beat teams,” Swiger said after the match.

“I think that’s the kind of intensity that we’re gonna bring to the MAC this year.”

The entire BG team played well in the tournament as setter Sam Fish had a career-high 52 assists against Valparaiso, and Mohr hit an impressive .562 against Duquesne.

Sweeping the tournament improved the Falcons’ record on the season to 8-5; 4-0 at home.

The Best Western Invitational was BG’s last tune-up for the MAC season as they start conference play Thursday at Miami University.

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