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BG hosts final home game

The Bowling Green volleyball team was comfortable with their performance in last weekend’s match against Kent State, which resulted in a 3-0 sweep.

But complacency is out when the No. 7 seeded Falcons host the No. 10 seeded Golden Flashes at Anderson Arena in the opening-round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament tonight at 7.

“We played a really good match against Kent State, but at the same time we know we can play better,” said senior Ashlei Nofzinger, who will be playing her final home game along with fellow senior Emily Manser.

“Kent State’s going to be pumped for the match, and we have to come out and match that energy,” she continued. “Playing at home will be a big advantage for us, but we still have to come out and play hard to get the win.”

BG (17-13, 8-8) and Kent State (9-19, 4-12) split their two regular season meetings with the Golden Flashes taking the first meeting in four sets Oct. 29. The Falcons easily defeated Kent State on Friday, while hitting a .279 for the match in the win.

Falcons coach Denise Van De Walle said she figured this rematch would be looming for a few weeks, but overall, she is excited about the match being in Anderson Arena.

“Right now, at this point we’re just really happy to be at home,” she said. “Getting a chance to host, that was one of our goals. It’s a great opportunity … Everybody wants that home-court advantage.”

“I just look at playing at home as a reward for what you’ve accomplished during the season,” she continued. “We don’t want to make too much of it, because it’s just another match for us, and we’re thankful it’s home.”

Prior to the start of yesterday’s practice, Van De Walle gathered her team in a huddle and simply told them, “I do not want this to be our last practice. I want to be in the gym on Wednesday.”

The 23-year coach was hoping the memo serves as motivation for BG.

“This team has worked hard all season,” Van De Walle said. “Like any other team, we’ve had our ups and downs, but hopefully [tonight] is when we put it all together.”

A year ago, the Falcons advanced to the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament for the first time in two years.

Setter Chrissy Gothke, who was recently named MAC East Division Player of the Week and leads the team with 9.88 assists per game, said the team wants to continue to build off that success.

“We have a winning tradition here, and we really want to keep that going,” she said. “This is a young team, but we want to use last season as a stepping-stone and continue going from there.”

Van De Walle was quick to point out the decided advantage BG gained from the crowd in their last match with the Golden Flashes.

She is hoping to see the same outcome this time around.

“The women’s basketball was really supportive of us all last weekend, and I just want to personally thank all the teams … that came out to cheer for us,” she said. “We just want to encourage the student body to come out and see us play, because this is a huge match and their last chance of 2005.”

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