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April 18, 2024

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A tale of two matches: pesky Huskies overcome slow start, top Falcons in five sets

Team+huddles+prior+to+first+serve
Jack Walsh
Team huddles prior to first serve

If the rest of the Mid-American Conference has not been paying attention to the Northern Illinois Huskies, I can certainly say this:

They are now.

The Huskies (3-11), overcame an early 1-0 set deficit to comeback and defeat the Bowling Green Falcons (7-6) in five sets (25-10, 23-25,22-25,25-20,9-15).

“A disappointing loss; first of all credit goes to NIU- they deserved this win,” said head coach Danijela Tomic. “We didn’t deserve the way how we played; this is again very disappointing.”

Things started off fantastic for the Falcons, who ended the first set tied for their largest set win of the season, as well as registered a .611 hitting percentage.

All seemed well, but then a metaphorical light switch came on for NIU, and everything changed.

“You let a team back in the way that we let NIU, the momentum shifted in the second set,” said Tomic. “That first set was probably the best set we played… I don’t think I can find one thing that I would say let’s improve upon. I asked the team- can we keep that focus, the way that we played clean, and we don’t have that ability yet.”

Led by Katie Erdmann and Nikolette Nedic with 17 kills apiece, as well as double-doubles from Sophie Hurt (23 assists, 10 digs) and Erdmann (17 kills, 13 digs), the Huskies won three of the last four sets.

For Bowling Green, Lauryn Hovey paced the Falcon offense once again with 19 kills, while Mia Tyler added 17 kills. Senior setter Jaden Walz almost recorded her first triple-double of her career, ending the match with eight kills, 43 assists, and 13 digs.

A tight, back and forth contest the rest of the way saw some near career-highs, a spreading of offensive wealth, and a match that ended up being one that BGSU just could not figure out how to overcome their theme of being a bit inconsistent.

“We’ll have to get back next week and get ready; the schedule is not getting any easier,” said Tomic. “But this one is gonna sting for awhile.”

Why do I say that the team theme so far is a bit inconsistent? Well let’s evaluate their hitting percentages: (.611, .209,.237, .406,.182).

In the sets where the Falcons were held below 25 percent, the team lost the set. In the sets above 25 percent? wins.

I know that comes off as superficial, but overall, Bowling Green’s offensive efficiency is the driving engine surrounding the end results of each set.

It was the same way last night, where in the four sets, the Falcons were .380, .100, .258 and .286. The .100? the lone lost set.

Sure, there are other reasons for this, but too many stretches of error-filled volleyball, as well as opponents giving BG their best shot as MACtion begins, will be aspects that BGSU has to overcome as time goes on in the season.

“I think it’s mostly consistency that we still have to learn,” said Mia Tyler. “We have really high highs and very low lows, and I think just finding that middle ground and be able to stay there throughout these matches especially in five sets with a good team.”

Hey, it’s only been one month; there is plenty of time to forge the armor of the team, I am confident the team will bounce back.

Why? Because champions play their best when they need it most.

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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