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September 21, 2023

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Falcons lose early game, pull off win in second

With a win and a loss in two games last Saturday, the Falcon volleyball team was able to end the non-conference portion of its season feeling good about itself.

The Falcons had their first game of the Louisville Invitational Active Ankle Challenge against Virginia Tech, and they lost the game in three straight sets.

Head coach Danijela Tomic said the team struggled to find a rhythm on the court and they struggled with receiving the Virginia Tech’s serves.

“Virginia Tech is an excellent team and we knew that everyone had to play their best.” Tomic said. “That didn’t happen.”

When the team struggles with service reviving, it is hard for the setter to start anything, Tomic said. The Falcons lost three straight sets, 25-14, 25-21, 25-16. The Falcons struggled in the first set, hitting .000 as a team. In the second and most competitive set against the Hokies, BG had an attacking percentage of .242, but the victor of the set hit .429 to seal the win.

The match against the Rice Owls was much better for the offense and defense of BG as they won that match three sets to one.

Freshman outside hitter Jelena Sunjic led the Falcons with 19 kills, a career high.

“I think this is just the beginning, she is a freshman and she is going to get better, she says she can do better, she knows she can do that,” Tomic said. “She is doing exactly what is asked of her in games and at practice. Erica Fullenkamp was able to recognize her success and did a great job finding her. Rice was unable to stop [Sunjic].”

This match ended the non-conference part of the team’s season and with the win in the final game, the team is feeling confident for its Mid-American Conference games.

“I like to think of our seasons in three parts: non-conference games, MAC games, and MAC tournament,” Tomic said.

Tomic said she told the team at practice this was almost like a fresh start.

“Preseason is a positive thing, it was challenging, tough and taught us to get up when knocked down,” Tomic said. “Good athletes get back up when knocked down.”

Tomic said the games against top 30 ranked teams was a positive thing because it exposed the team’s weaknesses.

“All of our weaknesses have been exposed. When we play top teams, there is not much that isn’t exposed,” she said “That can be seen as positive or negative. I think it is positive because now there is nothing unknown about our team.”

Tomic said the team is still struggling to find its identity on the court, but she is certain the team is not going to face anything they haven’t before.

In the MAC only one team, Ohio University, has the potential to be ranked, Tomic said.

They will open their MAC schedule in their next match Sept. 26 when they travel to Oxford, Ohio, to face off against Miami University. They will return home after that for the match against Northern Illinois University Sept. 28, which will be a rematch of the MAC Championship game from last season. The NIU Huskies are 8-6 on the season, and have only played one ranked team in Ohio State. The Huskies lost that match 3 sets to 2.

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