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April 11, 2024

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Falcons Best Michigan in Five Set Thriller to Win First Big Ten Matchup Since 2012

Keira Ellenberger
BGSU celebrates after Hannah Best records one of her career-high four aces in the win over Michigan Friday night.

Last night, BGSU Volleyball defeated the Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines in front of a packed house in five sets, 3-2.

Bowling Green jumped ahead, winning the first two sets and then fell behind as Michigan won the following two. As BGVB’s coaching staff often says about five-set matches, the metaphorical “boats were burned” as the Falcons sprung into action to win the fifth set and secure the win.  

Here’s how the Falcons did it.  

PHOTOS: Michigan vs. BGSU – (Date(09/15/2023)

Set 1: 25-20 (BGSU) 

A quick Michigan 4-0 run gave the Wolverines an early lead over Bowling Green. While not completely tying the game back up, the Falcons came close with a 6-5 score. From here, the Falcons paced behind Michigan by at least two points until the middle of the set. This was until Bowling Green once again came close to tying up the score 12-11.  

After a brief media timeout, the Wolverines pressed on with a 7-0 run resulting in a 19-12 lead over the Falcons. In response, Bowling Green turned the set on its head by putting together a 4-0 run, forcing a Michigan timeout.

Fresh out of the timeout with a 19-15 deficit to make up, the Falcons logged five more consecutive points. This 9-0 BGSU run, with senior Hannah Best behind the service line, gave the brown and orange the lead and an opportunity to take the first set. Bowling Green took the first set with a final 5-0 run, 25-20.  

Set 2: 25-19 (BGSU)

Refusing to slow down, the Falcons went into the second set swinging. It was only minutes into the set when Bowling Green took an early 6-1 lead, which also meant a 20-2 stretch, starting in the first set and continuing through the second.  

Keeping the Wolverines at arm’s length, the Falcons added to their lead with an additional 3-0 run, the score now 12-5. Starting with a 4-1 stretch of their own, Michigan started to slowly chip away at the lead, the score now 15-10.

From here, back and forth scoring was the game until the Falcons jumped ahead with a 3-0 burst to officially reach the 20 point mark. With a 20-15 score, the Falcons eventually secured the second set and a 2-0 lead in the match.  

Set 3: 25-17 (Michigan)

Not going down without a fight, the Wolverines jumped into an early third set lead, 5-2. Once the score reached 9-5, Bowling Green called for a timeout.

Unable to close the gap, the score escalated to 15-10 before Danijela Tomic took the second Falcon timeout. Coming out of the break, the Falcons put together a 5-1 stretch to nearly tie up the set at 16-15, forcing a Michigan timeout.

Following up with 5-1 stretch of their own, the Wolverines quickly approached the match point of set three. A final 4-0 run by Michigan ended the third set with a 25-17 score, forcing a fourth set with Bowling Green. 

Set 4: 25-22 (Michigan) 

The fourth set was the closest of the five sets played with BG and Michigan tying ten different times during the course of the set. The beginning of the set saw back and forth scoring until Michigan pulled ahead with 6-4 score.

This gap was quickly closed and matched, restarting the trend of trading points. A 3-0 BGSU run allowed the Falcons to pull ahead, 13-11.

Eventually, the Wolverines managed to tie the set up at 16 points each. Once Michigan took the 17-16 lead, Bowling Green called for a timeout.

Attempting to tie it up, Bowling Green was able to come within one point of the tie, but never more than that. From there, Michigan was successful at holding the Falcons back by at least two points.

Once the Wolverines reached the match point, the Falcons put together one last 3-0 run to extend the set, but eventually time ran out. With this, Bowling Green and Michigan were tied with two sets each.  

Set 5: 15-10 (BGSU) 

The final set started in Michigan’s favor, who had an early 4-1 lead. Once the score reached 5-3, the entire set shifted and began working out for Bowling Green.

With Best once again behind the service line for this crazy moment, the Falcons rallied a 7-0 run and now had the upper hand in this match-defining set. Holding a 10-5 lead, the Falcons held the Wolverines behind by at least three points for the rest of the set, the biggest lead being 13.

Soon later, a final kill by Lauryn Hovey secured the final set and the entire match.  

This win marks the program’s first Big Ten victory since 2012 and the program’s first win over Michigan since 1990. This win also marks the end of a tough three match losing streak from last weekend out west.  

Looking at the stat sheet, Hovey led the offensive charge with 18 kills and Jaden Walz logged a team-high 27 assists for the Falcons. Alex Laboy and Lindsey LaPinta led the way with digs, logging 18 and 10 respectively.  

One of the night’s biggest contributors was Best. With strong mental toughness, she led the team with four of the team’s nine aces, also her career high. Behind the service line during some of the most trying moments of the match, Best felt prepared thanks to difficult service drills from practice this last week.  

“We were put in situations to struggle behind the service line and I knew that when I was back there, I had done the work and I was prepared,” said Best. 

The Falcons close out the non-conference with part two against Michigan on Sunday afternoon in Ann Arbor. First serve is at 2 p.m.  

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

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