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Behind 12 aces, Falcons fly high to four set win over Bulls

BGSU team huddling before the game

On Friday night, Bowling Green added to their win streak, taking down the 12-3 MAC East Division leader Buffalo Bulls in four sets.

The Falcons logged an impressive 12 aces, 51 kills, 63 digs, and 50 assists, and with this victory, Bowling Green moves to a 9-7 record in the Mid-American Conference and an overall 15-12 season record, as well as the final quarterfinal spot in the MAC Tournament, if the tournament started today, with the Ohio win over Central Michigan.

Let’s see how BG got the win.

Set 1: 25-23 (Buffalo) 

With loads of energy in the room, the first set started off with back-and-forth scoring. It wasn’t until sophomore Lauryn Hovey went behind the service line that the Falcons held a small 6-4 lead over the Bulls.

Buffalo then found a way to fight back, taking a 10-8 two point lead of their own over the Falcons.  

Keeping in step with Buffalo, Bowling Green continued to stay within one point of the lead, but they were unable to jump on top. After a full rotation, Hovey found herself behind the service line again, where she logged the match’s first ace, allowing the Falcons to take a 15-14 lead.  

At this point, with both teams being so similar statistically, it was difficult for either to grab a large lead in this first set.

Entering the 20-point mark, the Falcons and Bulls were still playing neck-and-neck. After two kills in a row by Buffalo and the score reaching 22-20 (Buffalo), BG called a timeout to regroup.  

Just two points later, Buffalo made the score 24-21. Feeling the pressure, the Falcons called for their final timeout of the set. Coming out of the timeout, Hovey returned to the service line and logged back-to-back kills, forcing a Buffalo timeout.  

For UB, the timeout was just what they needed to secure this competitive set, as soon enough, the Bulls took the first set 25-23.  

Set 2: 25-12 (Bowling Green) 

After switching sides and adjusting their play, the Falcons logged a 3-0 run to open the second set; two kills by Hovey and one by junior Hannah Best.

This lead, not lasting as long as Bowling Green wanted, soon dissolved into a 3-3 tied score. At this point, it seemed as if neither team was going to be able to sustain a strong lead.  

After multiple ties, the Falcons were finally able to pull ahead with a 11-6 lead, with back-to-back aces by Lindsey LaPinta. With this quick burst of energy from Bowling Green, Buffalo called for their first timeout.  

Out of the timeout, the Bulls made up some ground with a 4-1 stretch. This showed to not be a problem for the Falcons, as the team extended their lead to a 18-10 score. Deciding enough was enough, UB called for their final timeout.  

Unfortunately for the Bulls, this timeout didn’t work the same magic as it did in set one. Having a ten-point lead over Buffalo, the Falcons reached a 25 mark  with relative ease.

With six aces and 12 kills in this set alone, Bowling Green effectively tied the match 1-1.  

Set 3: 25-18 (Bowling Green)  

Starting the third set, Buffalo quickly jumped on top with a 5-1 score. This was mostly thanks to two aces and a few defensive BG errors, throwing Bowling Green off balance.

Able to find their rhythm again, the Falcons efficiently battled back within one point of a tie, 6-5. A kill by senior Alexis Mettille finally tied the set 7-7 and a game of back-and-forth scoring began.  

Following an extended challenge on a call, eventually reversed in favor of the Orange and Brown, the Falcons were able to grab an 11-8 lead. The score extended to 15-11 until a media timeout led to a quick pause in play.  

Coming out of the timeout, the Bulls were able to match the score at 15 points each. Looking at a UB 5-0 run, the Falcons decided to call for the first timeout of the set. Regrouping from the timeout, Bowling Green was back in the running, scoring back-and-forth with Buffalo and eventually taking 20-18 lead. Keeping the momentum going, the Falcons put together a 3-0 run, forcing a final Buffalo timeout.  

One last strike by the Falcons cemented the third set for Bowling Green (25-18), giving BGSU a 2-1 lead in the match.  

Set 4: 25-19 (Bowling Green)  

The fourth set opened with a pair of BG kills and aces, allowing the Falcons to grab an exciting 4-1 lead.

Making strides, the Bulls began to close the gap, but were unable to reach a tied score with the Falcons.

Extending their lead, Bowling Green quickly reached a 11-7 score, the Falcons already logging three aces alone in the set.  

Continuing the drive, libero Alex Laboy logged the 11th BGSU ace of the evening, giving the Falcons a 15-9 lead.

Entering the 20-point territory, the Falcons held a strong 20-13 lead over Buffalo. Only allowing for a Buffalo ace and two kills, Bowling Green remained on top (22-16), forcing one last Bulls timeout. 

Pushing that momentum to the end, the relentless BG defense gave the Falcons the upper hand, and ultimately, the entire set.

With this last set, the Falcons have officially beaten the 12-3 leader of the MAC East division, extending their win streak to three matches.  

Jaden Walz led the charge, earning her ninth double-double of the season with 13 digs and 46 assists. Hovey followed close behind, narrowly logging a double-double with 26 kills and nine digs.

Following the match, associate head coach Alex DelPiombo, filling in for the absent Danijela Tomic, spoke about the pressure of facing such a strong team at this point of the season.  

“I was really proud of our team tonight, being in the moment. Making sure that the game was about us and not about the other team or who they are.”

She continued to make it clear that the mentality of the Falcons this year is “one point at a time”, “one contact at a time”.

Tonight, it worked.  

From here, the Falcons close out the series with Buffalo at home for Senior Night, first serve at 6 p.m.

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

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