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BGSU volleyball sweeps NIU (9-28-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by THOMAS SCHMELTZ, Sentinel Sports Writer   
Saturday, 28 September 2013 21:29
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BGSU celebrates a point. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Since completing a grueling nonconference schedule to begin the season, Bowling Green’s volleyball team is heading back in the right direction.
After a come-from-behind, five-set win over Miami on Thursday, the Falcons continued their Mid-American Conference tournament championship defense with a straight-set win over Northern Illinois on Saturday. BG is 5-8 overall and 2-0 in the MAC.
The Falcons never trailed as they cruised to a 25-20, 25-21, 25-19 win over the Huskies before a crowd of 1,503 in the Stroh Center.
The match was a rematch of the 2012 MAC championship game, when BG completed a comeback after trailing 2-0 to NIU.
“It was everything we hoped it would be, especially against Northern Illinois,” said BG’s Lindsey Butterfield, who had 11 kills. “Everyone knows what happened with them last year in the MAC championship. We knew that they were a really tough team. ... To beat them in three on our home court, that’s what we came to do tonight.”
Before an electric crowd, the outcome of the match never seemed to be in doubt after BG’s opening set win, which was capped off by a Butterfield cross-court kill.
The Huskies (9-7, 1-1) were stymied by BG and never got into a solid rhythm offensively as they collected 28 kills, compared to the Falcons’ 46.
“We did a great job with our serves, keeping them out of system,” Butterfield said. “When they’re in system, they’re a tough team. They run a very quick offense.”
Paige Penrod added 10 kills for the Falcons, none perhaps bigger than her second kill of the third set.
BG led 18-12 in what turned out to be the final set, but the Huskies made it 18-15 after three consecutive attack errors by the Falcons. Two of those errors were by Penrod, who missed wide-right and wide-left in back-to-back kill attempts.
Following a BG timeout, Danielle Tonyan and Penrod each came out with kills to start a 4-0 run for the Falcons.
Ashley Dunn, a Bowling Green High School graduate, followed with an ace and then Kaitlyn Skinner capped the run with a cross-court kill, giving BG a 22-15 lead and all the momentum it needed to finish the match.
“We just needed to take a breath and relax a little bit,” said Dunn, referring to the timeout before the final scoring spurt. “We had done some great things already, and we were confident. So there was no reason to get frantic. We just needed to take a little bit of a break, recuperate and reset ourselves.”
Dunn finished with a match-high 20 digs, while Butterfield added 13 digs.
“It was just a kind of let’s show (NIU) who the champions are, and let’s go out and play with that attitude,” said BG head coach Danijela Tomic.
The Falcons entered Saturday having won three of their last four matches. Before that, BG had lost six in a row, including 3-0 losses to No. 22 Purdue and No. 25 Wisconsin.
“We definitely learned a lot and I think you can tell,” Dunn said of the nonconference schedule. “It feels great to make a statement this weekend.
“We’ve been trying to find our rhythm for a while, and I feel like we found that tonight.”
Tomic credited BG’s play against Miami on Thursday for a well-played game against NIU.
“We just had the pressure off of our backs with the win over Miami,” she said. “The pressure that we won that match after being two sets down ... it just gave a huge boost of confidence to our team.”
Butterfield agreed that everyone played with confidence, especially the setters. Setter Erica Fullenkamp led the Falcons with 27 assists, while Laura Avila added 14.
“We knew how (NIU’s) defense operated and our setters saw seams ... they got the middles involved and they got the pins involved,” Butterfield said. “When everyone is being aggressive, that’s our character. That’s what we want to bring every night, is our aggression.”
BG travels to Kent State for its next match, on Friday.
Last Updated on Sunday, 29 September 2013 18:48
 

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