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February 22, 2024

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BG drops matches at Miami, Northern Illinois during weekend

The BG volleyball team came away with a pair of losses this past weekend, moving them to 7-19 overall and 4-10 in the Mid-American Conference.

BG fell to Miami, Ohio, first on Thursday 25-17, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, followed by a four-set loss to west division leader Northern Illinois 24-26, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 Saturday.

In the first set against the Redhawks, it was close at the midway point, but the Redhawks used a short 4-1 run to give them a 16-12 advantage in the first. Miami then went on a 9-5 run to finish the set 25-17.

Throughout the rest of the match it continued to be close. Miami used a 3-1 run at the 22-22 point to win the second set 25-23.

The third set was neck and neck with both teams tied at 22-22, however BG came away with the set victory after a 3-1 run to force a fourth set.

Then moving into the fourth set BG and the Redhawks came to a tie again at 18-18, but BG could not overcome Miami Ohio’s 7-2 run. The Redhawks won the set 25-20, ending the match.

Despite the loss BG head coach Danijela Tomic was proud of how her team played against a veteran group like Miami.

“We did many things well offensively and defensively, but they did it just a little bit better,” Tomic said. “We had three players with double-digit kills, and they had five who didn’t make many errors. We had two players with double-digit digs and they had three. I am proud of how we fought but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”

Sophomore Jelena Sunjic finished the game with 19 kills, while freshman players Nicole Slimko and Paige O’Connor had 10 or more kills each. Sophomore Madeline Garda finished with a school record 34 digs along with breaking her personal best 29, an accolade Tomic said she was proud of.

“She continues to set new standards on defense and serve receive for herself and our team,” Tomic said. “She is fearless on the court, and that is what I love about her. I am very proud of her and happy that we have the best libero in the conference who is only a sophomore.”

Saturday’s game against Northern Illinois proved too much of the same as BG was in a tight contest with the Huskies.

With the first set the Huskies led late 24-22, but BG came back to tie it up at 24-24 with an ace from sophomore Delaney Arkeilpane. BG then came out and scored the next two points claiming a 26-24 win in the initial set.

In the second set, BG used a 5-3 run at the 16-15 mark to extend its lead to 21-18. Then the Redhawks went on a 5-0 run going up 23-18 before BG came back and tied up at 23 apiece. However, Northern Illinois finished the set off posting back to back kills winning the set 25-23.

In the third, BG had a 13-8 lead, but the Huskies went on a 7-2 run to tie it all up at 15-15. BG then went on a 6-5 run to take a 22-21 lead, but the Huskies showed why they are at the top of the MAC west division, scoring the final four points to win the set 25-22.

With the fourth BG got as close as 22-21 before the Huskies finished the set and the match going on a 3-1 run to seal the deal.

Even with the loses, Tomic loves the fight she saw in her team.

“I am extremely proud of how our team competed and played their hearts out the whole match,” Tomic said. “Unfortunately, we could not create enough swings for our hitters … scoring was the number one key for us to win tonight and we did not

do that.”

BG finished with Sunjic getting a team high 11 kills followed by Slimko, O’Connor and sophomore Alyssa Maloney all getting nine kills, while senior Kelsey Bates added eight.

With the two losses, BG is on the hot seat as they now must win their last two games in order to have a shot of making the MAC tournament.

BG will play the Ohio Bobcats on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Convocation Center, followed by Kent State on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the MAC Center.

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