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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Volleyball experiences up-and-down weekend

This was doing it the hard way for the Bowling Green State volleyball team, which had to experience the agony of defeat and disappointment before they could appreciate the joy of success.w

A day after squandering a 2-0 lead against the Marshall Thundering Herd to fall in five games Friday at Anderson Arena, the Falcon’s recovered Saturday night sweeping the Buffalo Bulls to earn the No. 6 seed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

BGSU will host Akron Tuesday night at 7 p.m. to open the first-round.

“This was a big win for us, especially after coming off an upsetting loss to Marshall,” Melissa Mohr said after the win over the Bulls. “We were pretty confident coming into the game and we were expecting to beat Buffalo, but we still knew that they were than their record indicated.”

Head coach Denise Van De Walle called the loss to the Thundering Herd a disappointment.

Perhaps it’s because the Falcons (17-13, 8-8) hit .227 and .311 compared to Marshall’s .125 and .237 in dominating the first two games.

“We had complete control after the first two games, but came out of the locker room and just did not have the same fire and that’s puzzling to me,” Van De Walle said.

Following the intermission, BGSU looked more settled without setter Amber Mareski, who broke her ankle during the first game when the score was 25-14, on the floor.

But the powerful arm of the Thundering Herd’s 6-foot-3 freshmen sensation Kelly-Anne Billingly helped launch Marshall back into the match with a 30-23 and 30-21 victory in games three and four, respectively.

Despite never leading in the previous game, Taylor Twite’s kill to open the fifth game figured to set the tone, Van De Walle said following the loss.

No one told Marshall though.

The Falcons jumped out to a 7-5 lead prompting an MU timeout, but the duo of Billingly and Amber Sims combined for five kills as the Thundering Herd finished the game with a 10-4 run.

Van De Walle said the team’s performance without Mareski showed great character.

“We were jostling the lineup back and forth, then having (Maggie) Karges set and (Emily) Manser set,” she said. “We just worked hard and I felt that they handled that pressure very well, because that was something unusual and you just don’t practice.”

BGSU knew there was a high possibility they could start the MAC Tournament on the road with a loss to Buffalo.

The end result of that pressure: The Falcons came out looking as cool as the other side of the pillow, trailing only twice during the entire match and never allowing the Bulls to hit over .195 en route to the three-game sweep (30-24, 30-24, 30-23).

“I’m thrilled to get this win over Buffalo tonight … 3-0,” Van De Walle said after game. “That makes me feel really good.”

No Falcon reached double- figures in the loss to Marshall, but BGSU had three in win over UB as Mohr led the way with 12 and four blocks assisted at the net. Karges and Taylor Twite finished with 10 kills apiece.

Mandeline Means had a career-high 26 digs at the libro position, while Chrissy Gothke filled in at setter with a game-high 38 assists, eight kills and six digs.

“We didn’t have any chance to prepare and I thought Chrissy stepped in and did a great job not having been training as a setter in the last month,” Van De Wale said. “We’ve strictly been training Chrissy as a libro in practice almost everyday … but that’s just how gifted she is, because we’ve used her at just about every position, except middle blocker, since she’s been here.”

Prior to the win, the three BGSU seniors were honored with their parents.

Twite said she is looking forward to pulling off a “Cinderella run” in the tournament.

“We knew that if we came out and played how are capable, we would get the sweep,” she said. “Who ever we play in the tournament is going to be a tough opponent, but we feel pretty confident and we get a lot of people to come out and support us.”

Mareski will mist the remainder of her senior season, but she hasn’t lost faith in her teammates.

Not to mention her candidness as she addressed the crowd saying, “Come out and support us … because we’re going to kick some butt, whoever we play.”

“Our team is going to do well and I’m going to be there cheering them on,” said Mareski standing on crutches. “I had fun with this team, especially this year, we had a much more successful season … I’m just sad it’s over, but I know they’re going to continue to do well.”

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