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BG begins conference play 0-2 with road losses to Buffalo, Akron

The BG volleyball team dropped its first two Mid-American Conference bouts this past weekend at Buffalo and Akron.

With the two losses, the Falcons dropped to 3-11 overall and 0-2 in MAC play.

The Falcons kept each set close during the weekend, but were unable to close out on any of them.

BG began the weekend with a 25-17, 25-21, 25-23 loss at Buffalo Friday night in both teams’ first conference matchup.

“We did not execute the game plan completely and were not able to close the third set after leading the whole way until 20 points,” BG head coach Danijela Tomic said. “Our team needs to learn how to play with more urgency from the beginning of the match and we need to get contributions from all six players on the floor.”

The Falcons fell behind early in their first two matches against the Bulls before rallying to tie both sets. Buffalo then went on late runs of their own to claim both the sets.

In the third set, BG turned the tide as it took an early lead, but Buffalo went on a 6-point run to close the set and claim the match victory.

Buffalo finished the game with a .242 attack percentage versus BG’s .148 percentage. Freshman Nicole Slimko led the team with 12 kills, seven of which came during the second set. Sophomore Delaney Arkeilpane finished 13 digs. Senior Kelsey Bates and freshman Clara Martinez Rubio both added three blocks for BG and Martinez Rubio finished with four kills on four swings against Buffalo.

The Falcons were plagued with the same issues Saturday at Akron. The Falcons fell to the Zips 26-24, 26-24, 25-22, dropping their second MAC game.

The Falcons went into each of the three sets either tied or leading the Zips late, but were unable to come away with any set victory. The Falcons led 20-15 in the first, were tied with Akron 24-24 in the second and led 20-16 in the third set, but the Falcons were swept in three sets.

“This was another tough loss for us knowing that we could have and should have won at least two sets that we led up until 20 points,” Tomic said. “We have to get mentally tougher to be able to close sets.”

Bates finished the match with 11 kills, five blocks and four digs. Freshman Michaela Gabanic added a career-high seven kills on a .429 attack percentage. Slimko finished with nine kills and as many digs. Sophomore Madeline Garda led the Falcons with 17 digs.

“We had some positive individual performances, but until all six players fulfill their role on the court and execute the game plan, we will continue to struggle,” Tomic said. “It is still early in the MAC and we will get back in the gym and work on things that we have to improve to get ready for Miami Thursday.”

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