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BG volleyball team defeats Robert Morris in 5 sets, loses to UC Irvine, Oakland in 3 sets

The BG volleyball team came away from the Oakland Invitational this past weekend with a 1-2 record beating Robert Morris but falling to both UC Irvine and Oakland in three sets.

This drops the Falcons to 0-3 at home, 1-2 away and 2-4 at neutral sites for a combined record of 3-9 overall of the season.

The Falcons struggled against Oakland, tallying 25 kills to Oakland’s 48. BG’s hitting percentage

The Falcons had some opportunities, but Oakland was too big of a powerhouse and swept the Falcons in three straight sets winning those 25-22, 25-20, 25-21.

Freshman Paige O’Connor led the team with nine kills, followed by freshman Nicole Slimko with six and senior Kelsey Bates with three. Senior Erica Fullenkamp led the team with 20 assists, while sophomore Madeline Garda led the team with eight digs.

The team continues to struggle but looks to build more consistent play as it heads into the conference play next weekend.

“I would say that we play really well as a team but our consistency is what is lacking right now,” said senior Kelsey Bates. “That is what we need to work on we need to come out confident each and every game … we just need to pull it together and become more consistent with our play.”

The Falcons then followed with two games on Saturday. The Falcons lost their first match to UC Irvine 25-15, 25-21, 25-22.

The Falcons showed some resiliency and toughness as they ended the tournament with a win against Robert Morris 25-21, 15-25, 27-29, 25-20, 15-8. This is their third win which went to five sets.

Head coach Danijela Tomic said these five-set victories are key to getting valuable experience.

“I do think that to develop that resiliency, to develop that mentality of never giving up, you have to be pushed to the edge. There is no other way to learn,” said Tomic. “Sometimes I think you learn more valuable lessons from a tough loss than an easy win, and I think we will get some payback for all the struggles that we have gone through.”

Both Slimko and O’Connor finished with 20 kills each in the win, followed by Bates with 16. Fullenkamp had 49 assists and Garda mustered up 21 digs. The team also posted their second highest attack percentage, finishing .213 percent in the game.

Now with the non-conference play officially over, Tomic is looking forward to playing the Mid-American Conference schedule. She said the team is much more prepared after playing in four tournaments.

“I feel good about what this preseason has done for us,” Tomic said. “When you have a young team, it is about gaining that experience and we have been pushed to the limit. I do think after four weeks of preseason we will be as ready as we could be.”

The Falcons will open up MAC play on the road this Friday, Sept. 26, facing off against the Buffalo Bulls at 7 p.m. in Alumni Arena. Afterwards, the Falcons will make a trip to play Akron Sept. 27 at 5 p.m.

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