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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Falcons host MACs

It’s time for Cinderella to breakout her glass slippers, because the BG volleyball team is about to embark upon what they believe will be a magical run to the Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship.

But the thought hasn’t been in the back of head coach Denise Van De Walle’s mind as the journey begins tonight at 7 p.m. when the No. 6 seeded Falcons host No. 11 seed Akron at Anderson Arena.

“I would love that, I mean who wouldn’t,” Van De Walle said in regards to being the “feel good” story of the tournament. “I don’t think we’ve peaked and I think that when we play well we’ll be tough to beat.”

Assistant coach Mark Hardaway described yesterday’s practice as “low key,” which isn’t such a bad thing, according to Van De Walle.

“They know what they have to do,” she said following practice. “Whether they came in here and killed every ball or served target, set on the money, I’m not going to judge our performance [against Akron] on that. I will say they know what to do.”

Following Saturday night’s three-game sweep over Buffalo, Van De Walle said they were hoping to wrap up the No. 6 seed for the chance to play the Zips — a team they swept on Nov. 7 at the M.A.C. Center.

“We just played Akron last week, so they should be somewhat fresh in their mind and we’ll be fresh in Akron’s mind,” she said. “So they know what to do and they know that this is the most important match that we’ve played this season.

“We’ve got our seed, Akron has their seed at 11,” she added. “We stand in front of one another and whoever wins gets to the final eight of the MAC Tournament.”

The Zips (13-15, 5-11), coming off a 3-2 win over Kent State last Wednesday, are led by Emily Kocinski, who is averaging 3.90 kills and is one of three players contributing more than three kills per game. Setter Rachel Rush leads Akron with 12.40 assists.

“Akron has a very good team,” Van De Walle said. “They have a good setter, their left-side does a good job, their libro does an excellent job. [Head coach] Mike [Sweitzer] does a very good job and I think it will a hard-fought game for both teams.”

BGSU will be without setter Amber Mareski, who broke her ankle in the win against Buffalo, and Van De Walle said it will be a big difference from the last meeting between the two teams.

However, she believes sophomore Chrissy Gothke will step in nicely for the team’s injured senior tri-captain.

“Chrissy’s going to do a good job for us at setter,” she said. “She’s feeling a lot more comfortable at that spot and everyone has a lot of faith in her ability on the floor.”

The Falcons set three goals coming into the season, Van De Walle said.

“It was very realistic, we said we wanted to work hard enough to get at least 15 wins … based on the schedule we had and knowing that we had six freshmen,” she said. “And we wanted to play good enough to host a first round match and we wanted to be in the final eight.

“We’ll, we’ve got our 15 wins: We’re hosting a first round match,” she added. “Akron is the only team standing in the way of our final goal.”

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