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September 21, 2023

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Netters take two in Cali

BGSU’s women’s volleyball team had a rough start to their weekend in California after losing their first match. But they made sure that did not become a trend as they won their next two matches to finish the weekend 2-1.

On Friday night, the Falcons lost to host Cal State Fullerton, 3-0, by a score of 30-27, 32-30, 30-25. They would rebound on Saturday to defeat Portland State 3-2 by a score of 28-30, 23-30, 30-22, 30-22, 17-15.

They also defeated Stony Brook, 3-1, by a score of 30-19, 23-30, 30-23, 30-25. They improved their record to 4-3 overall after the weekend.

“This was a tough tournament for our team, but we did finish 2-1,” Coach Denise Van De Walle said. “We used our freshman setter and she came in and led the team to victories against PSU and Stony Brook. Our lineup has become more flexible, making our team even better.”

Against Cal State-Fullerton, the Falcons could not pull it out in the close games. BGSU found themselves down 19-11 in the first game and cut the lead to 29-27 after scoring seven straight points, but could not finish off the comeback.

In the second game, the teams traded leads throughout until they tied it at 30-30. Brittany Moore had two consecutive kills to give CSF the game and the 2-0 lead in the match. The Falcons again trailed most of the third game, but rallied to trail 25-24. CSF scored five of the next six points to sweep the match.

Madeline Means led the Falcons in kills with 10 for the match, but the Falcons struggled for the most part, as only three Falcons hit over .300. The team hit .212 for the match while CSF hit .295.

“The Fullerton match was a disappointment,” Van De Walle said. “We were prepared but didn’t execute on any level. We changed a few things up after the match, including starting Sam Fish as our setter and we rebounded well the rest of the weekend.”

The Falcons rebounded to complete a big comeback after dropping the first two games against Portland State. In the first game, the teams were tied at 28 before PSU had two kills by Erica Jepsen to win the game. The Falcons had their worst game of the tournament as they were down 20-19 before PSU scored 10 of the next 14 points.

BGSU returned the favor with big seven-point victories in the next two games as the Falcons established themselves with a better offensive performance in these games than the previous two.

The deciding fifth game saw an incredible 13 ties as the teams battled, but neither could grab any sort of lead. BGSU saw a kill by Corrie Mills followed by a PSU error to capture the match.

“We were pleased with the win and the fact that we found our timing and rhythm,” Stephanie Swiger said. “It was a critical time for us not to let the weekend get away after the first loss and we found a way to win a dogfight with PSU. Hopefully, that match will be a turning point for our season.”

BG hit .233 as a team while four Falcons had double-digit kills, led by Swiger with 14. Kendra Halm hit .455 with 12 kills. Sam Fish, freshman, saw most of the time as setter for the first time in her career and responded with 49 assists and 12 digs.

The third match of the weekend saw a more erratic BG team as they were able to capture the first game easily but lost the second one just as easily. Two solid performances in the third and fourth game gave the Falcons a multiple victory weekend for the first time this season.

Fish again posted a double-double with 42 assists and 10 digs. Swiger and Means led the team with 12 kills while Means also had 15 digs to get her fourth double-double of the season.

“Having a team with so many options gives us a different look and feel on the court,” Domek said. “We can change things when we need to and play with anyone once we get the right lineup together.”

Fish and Chelsey Meek were named to the All-Tournament Team. Meek averaged 5.58 digs a game while also collecting eight assists, four service aces and one kill on the tournament.

Next weekend, the Falcons will again travel west as they head to New Mexico to play Gonzaga, Northern Colorado and New Mexico. The Falcons will be aiming to record their first sweep of a weekend and tournament championship of the season.

“Our schedule is allowing us to play better competition than usual before Mid-American Conference play,” Van De Walle said. “It is preparing us to know that we have no easy wins in the MAC and we must play our hardest every day.”

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