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Falcons inconsistent

For the Bowling Green volleyball team, the questions are less about what they didn’t do, how they did not execute and where they fell short in a 3-0 loss to Miami on Wednesday.

They’re more about how they will re-focus in time for Sunday’s 3 p.m. Mid-American Conference tilt with the Northern Illinois Huskies at Anderson Arena.

According to BG coach Denise Van De Walle, the plan is very simple for the Falcons.

“It’s all about moving on,” she said before yesterday’s practice. “That’s what I tell the team every time we play, every time we practice. You have to be in the now. It doesn’t do us any good, other than to learn from what we didn’t do against Miami.”

“There’s some areas of our game that need a lot of work,” she said. “We’re going to come in the rest of this week and practice, really work hard to make sure that our passing, our defense and our blocking stays steady.

“We’ve got to be able to count on those three skills every time we take the floor. Hitting is a skill we have to continually work on to be effective. We’ve got to learn to take better shots in certain situations. We got to hit harder than we’re hitting.”

NIU, which sits at 1-1 in the MAC and 8-8 overall, boasts Kate McCullagh who leads the country in kills, averaging 5.38 per game.

Mention the Huskies’ 6-foot standout middle blocker to Van De Walle and her face lights up.

“[McCullagh’s] a very nice player. I remember her vividly from last year,” she said smiling sheepishly.

Two Falcons who will play key roles in trying to keep McCullagh in check are left-side hitter Mandeline Means and middle blocker Kendra Halm.

Means said the best way to stop a player of that caliber is to hope the ball comes to you.

“She cuts the ball really nice,” she said. “The blocks set up and she can cut either way around it and it’s not as easy for a defender. A lot of time it’s about guessing where the player’s going to hit, but mainly just reading her arm and reading where she’s going to hit.”

Halm, a 5-foot-11-inch redshirt freshman, will be going up against McCullagh at the net. She said she’ll be ready for the challenge.

“If we key on the factors and play good defense, we can shut her down,” Halm said. “Just always keep track of where she is and just concentrate on blocking, penetrating and doing my job.”

BG’s Elizabeth Simon said the team is ready for NIU after Wednesday’s loss.

“We’re coming in ready to go, ready to practice and we’re enthusiastic about making changes,” she said. “It’s definitely a chance to redeem ourselves, and a chance to just play better in front of our fans.”

Van De Walle said the highs and lows BGSU has experienced this season are characteristics of a young team.

“They sometimes lack confidence. There’s a lot of things that go on with a young team as they try to figure out how to play at this level, because it’s different than high school.”

Van De Walle is expecting the match against the Huskies to be another hard-fought battle, but said she hopes the presence of a few former Falcons will fuel the fire in BG.

“It’s our alumni day,” she said. “We’re going to have 12-15 former players here on Sunday to watch and to honor. We want to play well, because a lot of those former players have helped us put up those banners.

‘#160;

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