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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Falcons clip Cardinals’ wings

Ball State has been the Bowling Green volleyball team’s beast for the last 13 years.

But the beast was trumped, thumped and drop-kicked down to size during a 3-0 sweep Saturday night.

Ashlei Nofzinger and Stephanie Swiger combined for 23 kills, and the Falcons had four different players record double-digit digs in holding the Cardinals to a .168 hitting percentage as BGSU won their first ever game at Worthen Arena and ended a 24-match losing streak to BSU – including a current 13-match home winning streak.

“It was certainly one of the highlights of my recent career,” said BGSU coach Denise Van De Walle, who graduated from Ball State and served as an assistant for one season at her alma mater.

“It’s been so hard,” she continued. “Every time we’ve played them we’ve come away with a loss, and the tough thing was many of those loses were hard-fought five-gamers. It was a huge win for me, personally.”

The victory came one night after the Falcons were swept by the Toledo Rockets in the Mid-American Conference opener for the first time since 2001.

Van De Walle said she had a heart-to-heart talk with the team on the way to Muncie, Ind., following the loss.

“I went to the back of the bus and talked to the team for probably about 45 minutes about several things,” she said. “One of them being getting over the fear of making mistakes … and that we had to learn how to fight through every game. I was just really evaluating our match against Toledo. I thought Toledo played well.”

Van De Walle said she was impressed with how the team competed all the way through the match, but she also gave credit to her assistants Mark Hardaway and Sean Huiet.

“I was very impressed with my coaching staff,” she said. “My assistants did a very good job in helping make adjustments. It was a total team effort from everyone.”

BGSU’s Maggie Karges, who had a team-high 23 digs, said she believes the team would have played at the same level even with a win at UT.

“We really wanted to get back out there, because we knew it was an important match for us,” she said. “It felt good to get the win for coach. We know it only sets the bar higher for us.”

Despite the humbling, Chrissy Gothke said the Cardinals were reluctant to give the Falcons their due after the game.

“I think they were surprised at how well we played,” she said. “They didn’t give us any respect … It made the win that much sweeter for us.”

Van De Walle had been waiting for this moment for years, and said she is glad it happened to this team.

“This team works so hard, and the chemistry is great,” she said. “This was a great win for us because we had alumni there, fans were there and it was just a great atmosphere. You would have thought we won the MAC there was so much emotion and excitement.”

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