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April 18, 2024

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Falcon volleyball defeats Miami, Western Michigan

The Falcons volleyball team took both their match ups against the Miami RedHawks and Western Michigan Broncos, defeating Miami 3-1 on Thursday night, before traveling to face Western Michigan on the road on Saturday night, defeating them 3-1 as well.

On Thursday, the team got off to a difficult start as Miami took the first set 25-22. However, the team came back strong in the second set with a 25-17 victory.

“We picked up our defense, I wasn’t happy with our defensive effort,” Falcons head coach Danijela Tomic said. “We were not creating opportunities, once we started doing that a little bit more, Isabel (Kovacic) did a good job distributing the ball, but it was a matter of just a little bit better defensive effort.”

The third set saw Miami jump out to a big lead, going up 11-3 at one point, however the Falcons were able to claw back into the match with a number of key kills and a four point rally to close the gap to 17-15. Miami was able to restore their advantage slightly with a pair of kills making it 19-15. They would hold on to the four point lead until the Falcons put together a three point rally, taking advantage of kills by senior outside hitter Nicole Slimko and junior outside hitter Isabel Kovacic to cut it to 23-22. Miami was able to get another kill, making it a set point at 24-22, but the Falcons were able to stay in as Slimko got another kill. An attack error allowed the Falcons to tie the set up and a bad set gave the team their first lead of the set. Needing to go up by two points to take the set, sophomore defensive specialist Paulina Iacobelli set down a service ace to give the Falcons a 26-24 win.

The team was able to continue the momentum into the fourth, as they took an early lead off a five point rally to go up 7-4, however, Miami was later able to retake the lead. Behind 18-15, the Falcons took advantage of three straight attack errors to tie the game back up. The tie remained as the teams were even at 20, where the Falcons jumped ahead with two more points. Miami cut the lead in half on a kill of their own, but the Falcons were able to seal the set with a five point rally to win 25-22 and take the match 3-1, in the process breaking their tie with Miami for first place in the MAC standings.

“We knew that there was an opportunity to get a step closer to winning a regular season championship,” Tomic said. “But we also put things in perspective, I told them we could win this match and lose the next five, because we still have five more matches and we wouldn’t be accomplishing what we want to accomplish.”

On Saturday, the Falcons looked to face Western Michigan and finish the week on a high note.

“Western Michigan’s a tough team too,” Tomic said. “They have good middles, they run a lot of slides, which we struggled with (against Miami) and that’s Western Michigan’s strength.”

The team started off strong, winning the first two sets 25-20 and 25-19 respectively. Despite getting off to an early lead in the third set, Western Michigan was able to fight back and keep themselves alive in the match, winning 26-24. However, the Falcons finished them off in the fourth with a strong 25-16 victory and taking the match 3-1.

The team will next play on Friday and Saturday night at home, first against the Ohio Bobcats on Friday, then against the Kent State Golden Flashes on Saturday.

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