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April 11, 2024

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Sunday Setter: Through six games, Falcons are proving that depth will not be an issue

Sunday+Setter%3A+Through+six+games%2C+Falcons+are+proving+that+depth+will+not+be+an+issue
Drake Harlett

I’m not one to try and repeat any story over and over again, but you cannot tell the story of the 2023 BGSU Volleyball team so far without bringing up one particular name.

Petra Indrova.

The day was August 9- The team is practicing, preparing for what was going to arguably be one of the deepest teams to ever hit the floor in BGSU history.

Moments later, panic, as Indrova goes down with an eventual season-ending knee injury.

“We all are heartbroken for Petra, who has done and means so much for our program,” said head coach Danijela Tomic following the official injury announcement on August 15. 

The two-time Mid-American Conference Player of the Year’s void now needed to be filled, and while the depth coming back from the 2022 team was still very strong, the injury now thrusted freshmen into the spotlight to have to contribute.

Well, I was wrong for ever thinking that the team maybe would have issues.

They don’t.

Should have never doubted Tomic for her move to start true freshman Amanda Otten in the opening tournament of the season against East Tennessee State, Northern Kentucky, and #14 Ohio State.

Should not have been surprised to see Otten record back-to-back double-doubles against the Buckeyes and Norse, with both matches ending with Otten falling just one stat away from having two triple-doubles.

Should have never doubted that the Falcons could come back down two sets to zero against 2022 Atlantic-10 Conference Champion Loyola-Chicago in the home opener.

I promise now that I’ve learned my lesson, and that’s because I’ve learned that the team just has a stupid amount of depth.

“Our team is a great team because of all the players who step on the court and all the players on the sideline cheering,” said Tomic following BG’s win against Loyola-Chicago. “This is always about team, and that’s what our team understands. They know that whatever their role is, they are going to star in their role.”

And my goodness have they.

Going back to Otten, through just six matches, she is second in blocks (19), assists (105), and aces (7), as well as fourth in kills (48) and fifth in digs (26).

And the MAC now knows who she is, as for the week of August 28, Otten was named the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week.

All of that, and we’re just getting started.

2022 MAC Freshman of the Year Lauryn Hovey? She’s still doing her thing, recording four double-digit kill matches, as well as getting her first double-double Saturday in BG’s four-set win over the Wright State Raiders (15 kills, 14 digs).

Remember Jaden Walz? The Raiders sure do, as the senior from Brooklyn, Ohio notched a double-double as well against them with 39 assists and 10 digs.

Falcon fans remember libero Yelianiz Torres, who after putting in a fantastic campaign last year for the orange and brown, left for the SEC’s Tennessee Volunteers, and is now the starting libero for them.

But, being who Danijela Tomic is, she can plug in Alex Laboy, the senior from Avon Lake, Ohio.

What has she done? Oh nothing much, just lead the team in digs (81) and aces (8).

Oh, and there’s also Kat Mandly and Mia Tyler, who are first and third on the team in kills (69 for Mandly, 59 for Tyler), while Mandly is third in digs with 41.

All of that, while adding in Alexis Mettille, Gwen Crull, Jessica Andrews, and Lindsey LaPinta, and you have a team destined for more greatness in the record books and Stroh Center rafters.

Sure, there is plenty to work on, especially when you get to play teams like Ohio State, Loyola-Chicago, Wright State and Texas A&M.

“Our schedule is going to not just sharpen us, but we’re being forged,” said Tomic following the home opener. “We just grew up and matured probably three months.”

Through some ups and downs so far this season, that sentiment has continued to ring true: adversity makes this Bowling Green team stronger, which is saying something.

You know why? Because this team loves each other.

“We learned a lot from yesterday’s match and we went into this game with a lot of goals to achieve and we kind of kept it to three- love, unity and competitiveness,” said Walz following Saturday’s match. “We learned a lot about not only ourselves but the opponents and what it takes to come out with some wins. I’m really grateful for this weekend and I think it’s gonna bring us stronger and more together.”

I know it’s only been six matches, but after a 4-2 start, beating two fellow conference champions from a season ago, and giving a top 15 team everything they could handle in the second match of the year, I just have a feeling that Bowling Green will experience what Bill Murray did in Groundhog’s Day.

A repeat.

Maybe this time however, we keep the MAC Tournament at the Stroh.

For more information about the team, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (bg_fmsn).

 

 

 

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