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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 16, 2023

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Falcons volleyball loses against Eastern Michigan, wins against Central Michigan

Steven W. Echard

Kaitlyn Skinner spikes the ball over the net against Eastern Michigan on Friday night.

BG’s volleyball team finished its weekend home stand with a 1-1 record. Its loss on Friday was inarguably its worst Mid-American Conference performance of the season, but the team bounced back to win their game Saturday.

On Friday, the Falcons took on Eastern Michigan University and lost a five-set match for the first time while being coached by Danijela Tomic.

“We allowed Eastern Michigan to make us play their style of game; we didn’t keep the tempo of our sets,” Tomic said. “They had a really good game against us.”

EMU won the game because they were able to stop BG’s outside hitters Paige Penrod and Lindsey Butterfield. Butterfield and Penrod, the two kill leaders for the Falcons, were held to an attacking percentage of .045 and .128, respectively.

“Our two outside hitters Paige and Lindsey, they were stopped. [EMU] played the way they wanted this match,” Tomic said.

Middles Kaitlyn Skinner and Alyssa Maloney had a combined 19 kills (3.8 per set), and were virtually unblocked by EMU’s defense.

“We have really competitive middles,” setter Erica Fullenkamp said. “Any of them can play on any given night, and Alyssa stepped in big for us. She is a very strong slide hitter, and that’s what she did for us [tonight]. We played to her strength on the slide and she came through for us.”

Skinner led the team in attacking percentage again with a .350. She leads the team this season with an attacking percentage of .243, for all attackers with more than 200 total attacks.

“I had to work really hard, I had to out work their middle so that I had opportunities on different areas around the net,” Skinner said.

According to Skinner, her teammate Erica “worked hard distributing the ball well and that made it easier for me to have seams when they were guessing where the ball was going to go. When I had the chance I went for the ball because I knew I had to aggressive to put the ball down against a great defensive team.”

Saturday, BG won a four set match against The Central Michigan Chippewas. Libero Ashley Dunn said the team was embarrassed by their previous performance and wanted to come out mentally focused and ready to go. She had 21 digs in the match and three assists.

“Our block was set up awesome tonight, so that helped a lot [with finding where the ball would be hit],” Dunn said. “We started off playing really good defense and we feed off of each other, and balls just can’t touch the floor. When you have that kind of energy, you just find a way to keep the ball up.”

The Falcons had much better defensive statistics than they did on Friday, keeping the CMU to a .050 attacking percentage. Their best hitter, Kaitlyn McIntyer, who leads the MAC with 4.6 kills per set was held to 3.5 kills per set in this match and a .116 attacking percentage.

“We knew all those stats, and we knew to stop Central Michigan we had to stop McIntyre. We took a lot of pressure on her in every rotation,” Tomic said.

The Falcons served to McIntyre at least once in every rotation forcing her to pass and swing often.

“I think she broke down in the fourth set; she made some unforced errors,” Tomic said.

Skinner and outside hitter Jelena Sunjic were matched up against McIntyre the whole game, and Skinner had nine blocks, Sunjic had four blocks. Fullenkamp had a career best of four blocks in this match.

Butterfield said this weekend was a positive weekend, and the team looks forward to learning from its mistakes from game one and taking away from the positives of game two.

“I’m pleased with our weekend,” Butterfield said. “We can only learn from Eastern and it exposed weaknesses that we have and a lot of stuff that we have to get on in the gym. I would rather have had two wins this weekend, but this will give us something to do in practice.”

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