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Home matches loom large for BG

Here’s where the difference is most acute.

One year ago today the Bowling Green State volleyball team was losing a five-game heartbreaker to Akron inside Anderson Arena, which culminated a tumultuous 12-21 regular season before losing to Eastern Michigan in the Mid-American Conference Tournament just days later.

Now the Falcons, having won two of three last three games, enter into the final weekend of the regular season 15-12 with a 7-7 MAC record, and in pursuit of two victories over Marshall and Buffalo at Anderson Arena.

“It feels really good to be winning after last season,” sophomore Chrissy Gothke said. “I think everyone knows how important these games are for us and we’re going to try and get both wins.

BGSU currently sits in sixth place with Miami, Northern Illinois and Kent State all one game behind in the loss column. The Toledo Rockets are two games behind at 5-9.

The Falcons have defeated both NIU and UT twice this season, but Miami and KSU own the tie-breaker.

The top three seeds in the MAC receive a bye week when the MAC Tournament begins on Nov. 16, leaving seeds 4-8 hosting home games which makes this weekend’s match-ups that much more important Gothke said.

“We know anything can happen, but our focus is on beating Marshall and Buffalo,” she said. “We know both games are going to be tough, but we are pretty confident heading into both games.”

Tonight’s 7 p.m. tilt with the Thundering Herd will be the first meeting of the year between the two teams.

MU (19-9, 10-) is led by freshman Kelly-Anne Billingly, who is second in the MAC averaging 5.58 and hitting .314 on the season.

Amber Sims is second on the team averaging 2.84 and Katie Stein leads the Thundering Herd in assists with 1,294.

Head coach Denise Van De Walle said MU will be a tough game for the Falcons.

“They’re probably coming into this game feeling they have to win, like everyone is at this point in the season,” she said. “They’re very athletic and they’re very well coached.”

The Buffalo University Bulls are 8-19 and 1-13 in the MAC, but snapped a 14-game winning streak against Miami last Saturday.

The Bulls are led by Nikki Morzenti, who is one of four players averaging at least 2.26 kills, with 2.97 per game.

BGSU is coming off a four-set win over Oakland on Wednesday, a victory in which the Falcons proved to be abundantly efficient, according to Van De Walle.

“That was a good win for us … It’s always good to rack up wins to build your confidence,” she said.

A win over either Marshall or Buffalo tomorrow at 7 p.m. could secure a home game to open the tournament, depending on how the team’s below BGSU perform this weekend.

But Van De Walle said it’s always better to control your own destiny.

“We know that everyone’s jockeying for position and every match is going to be important,” she said. “We’re working hard and we feel pretty good about our chances going into these games.”

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