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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Volleyball falls short vs. WMU

There are games that get away and then there are games that get away — the volleyball team came bearing gifts.

The Falcons [8-6, 0-1} opened up Friday by defeating Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne (9-6) in the first set, but the Mastodons took the next three to defeat BG in four sets.

A furious rally from a 2-0 deficit against Western Michigan fell short in a 15-12 fifth-set loss, as the Falcons lost their third consecutive Mid-American Conference opener Saturday.

The loss was BG’s first loss of the season when the matches go to five sets — they were 4-0 –and it was their third straight loss to the Broncos.

“I wouldn’t say that it would have been easy to win both matches but that was certainly our expectation going into the weekend, head Denise Van De Walle said.

The Falcons were spurred in the first set against IPFW by the one-two punch of Taylor Twite and Samatha Rennau, who produced five and four kills, respectively.

BG never trailed and accounted for 15 kills, eight blocks at the net and a .231 hitting percentage en route to 30-23 victory.

The tables quickly turned on the Falcons, however. The Mastodons, led by Fabiana Souza’s 16 kills and Nicole Howell’s 14, outscored BG, 30-25 in each of the last three sets.

“This was a very disappointing loss, because I felt this was a match we could have won,” Van De Walle said after the match on Friday. “We didn’t play well enough to win and they took advantage of our mistakes.”

Twenty-four hours later the Falcons were back on the court for the MAC opener and the 372 fans at Anderson Arena — the largest home crowd of the season — christened the atmosphere with excitement.

BG took an early 17-16 lead in the first set, until an attack error and a kill by WMU’s Tinesha Tierney gave the Broncos an 18-17 advantage.

The Falcons tied the score at 23-23 on a Rennau kill, which led to a timeout and WMU responded with a 7-0 run to end the set.

After falling behind 17-13 in the second set, BG used a 14-9 run to a 27-26 lead.

A Kathryn Babcock kill tied the set and one of Carmen Malone’s 19 kills gave the Broncos (9-4, 2-0) a 28-27 lead before Melissa Mohr, who chipped in with 11 kills, tied the set.

Twite’s ball handling error gave WMU a one point advantage and prompted Van De Walle to call a timeout, but Tierney’s second kill of the set gave the Broncos a 2-0 lead going into the intermission. The Falcons used a balanced attack and .294 hitting percentage to take a convincing 30-17 win in the third set.

More of the same took place in the fourth set, as BG rebounded from a 12-9 deficit to take a 23-19 lead.

WMU would get to within three, 25-22, but the Falcons ended the set on a 5-2 run.

Two BG errors contributed to 4-0 run by the Broncos to begin the fifth set. The Falcons countered with a 5-3 run to close the gap to 7-5 on Rennau’s kill that lead to a timeout.

WMU jumped ahead 10-7, but BG used a 4-1 run to tie the set. Following a timeout, Kristy Ramsey’s 17th kill gave the Broncos a 12-11 lead.

Twite, who tied for the game-high with 19 kills, tied the score but WMU ended the set on 3-0 run.

“This was a tough match, because we fought really hard but came up short,” setter Amber Mareski said after the match. “It was really encouraging to see that we never gave up and that says a lot about this team.

Mareski, who lead the Falcons with 51 set assists, said it was difficult to overcome the 4-0 run that began the set.

“Anytime you fall behind in a fifth set, it’s always going to be a disadvantage,” she said. “I think all of the matches in the MAC are going to be like this because these teams are so evenly matched.”

Rennau produced 14 kills and 13 defensive digs and Mohr, Nadia Bedricky and Dana Chapman combined for 32 kills.

Bedricky and Susie Norris each had 12 digs and Chrissy Gothke added 20.

“This loss was a disappointment because it’s a MAC match and we did so well during pre-conference that it should have followed suit,” Van De Walle said. “Western [Michigan] is a good team and this should convince us that you have to be on every night.”

“This league can change your mentality and we have a decision to make,” she said. “We have a decision to make as a team and this can make us bitter or it can make us better. And, I choose that it’s going to make us better.”

Despite the loss to the Broncos, Van De Walle said she was pleased by some individual performances.

“We got big production from Nadia, Sam and Taylor,” she said. “I thought we also served the ball well, but our blocking needs to improve.”

BG returns to action Wednesday when they travel to Savage Hall to take on the Toledo Rockets. The start is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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