Falcon volleyball eyes more success (08-13-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor   
Tuesday, 13 August 2013 08:16
Danijela Tomic (middle), BGSU Head Volleyball Coach, briefs her team before practice with her assistant coaches Jessica Hohl and Rodnei Santos at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The seniors on the Bowling Green State University volleyball team are a hungry group and don’t want to rest on their laurels.
Last season, Danijela Tomic’s first as BG’s head coach, the Falcons won the Mid-American Conference tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.
‘‘We have a great culture developing right now,’’ Tomic said at Monday’s media day for the program.
Seven letter winners return from last year’s team, which was 22-11 overall.
‘‘It’s really exciting, but it’s very bittersweet because it’s the last hurrah — the last time we’ll get to play here,’’ said senior Ashley Dunn, a Bowling Green High School graduate. ‘‘It’s been awesome to play all four years with the core seven that we’ve had, but the new eight that have come in have really stimulated the competition. They get us going.
‘‘This year, we want to win it all — regular season, tournament and we want to go farther in the NCAA tournament. We want to go to at least the Sweet 16,’’ added Dunn, who is a libero/defensive specialist. ‘We’re ready to leave it all out on the court. No matter who is going to play, we are all working for the same goal.’’
Three first-team All-MAC selections return for the Falcons — right-side hitter Danielle Tonyan and left-side hitters Lindsey Butterfield and Paige Penrod.  All three are seniors. Tonyan was also a first-team pick in 2011.
The other returning seniors are middle-hitter Kaitlyn Skinner, setter Laura Avila, and Libby Dachenhaus, a libero/defensive specialist. Also returning are junior setter Ericia Fullenkamp and junior middle/right-side hitter Kelsey Bates.
‘‘They are not satisfied, especially our seniors,’’ Tomic said. ‘‘They don’t want anything less than another championship.
‘‘That’s great to have that kind of leadership. That’s what every coach hopes their seniors will do, and that’s what we have here this season.’’
BGSU Volleyball player Paige Penrod sets the ball during a drill with teammates at the Stroh Center.
In an effort to bring competition for this season and also build for the future, Tomic brought in eight freshmen recruits. Also, Allison Papenfuss is using her fifth year of college eligibility to play volleyball after playing four years with the BGSU women’s basketball team.
‘‘Our job is to recruit better kids every year, and they are going to help us be a better team,’’ Tomic said. ‘‘You are not going to play just because you are a senior. You have to earn your spot and don’t let a freshman beat you.
‘‘We have three first-team All-MAC players and I don’t expect those players to be on the bench,’’ she continued. ‘‘But it’s good for them to have competition and push them. If there is a healthy competition, which we think that we have on the team right now, everybody gets better.’’
With seven seniors playing this season, Tomic knows that it will be hard to replace them.
‘‘I can’t expect freshmen to come in and replace them. So we needed these kids here so we can train them for a year,’’ Tomic said. ‘‘The transition next year will be a little smoother.’’
Another goal for the Falcons is breaking into the Top 25 and Tomic has put together a tough schedule to help the team reach that goal.
‘‘It was intentionally planned this way,’’ Tomic said about the schedule. ‘‘We  have the personnel who can play at this level.
‘‘Our goal is to get into the Top 25 and to do that we have to beat some of those teams,’’ Tomic continued. ‘‘Hopefully, we will surprise some of the those teams that are better ranked.’’
The Falcons play in four tournaments before starting conference play.
‘‘It’s going to give us a lot of experience, and it’s really going to prepare us for the season,’’ Dunn said about the schedule. ‘‘We have some Big Ten schools and some really good, highly ranked schools that we’re going to be playing.
‘‘You’re only going to get better if you play the best.’’
The Falcons have an Orange-White scrimmage on Aug. 24 starting at noon in the Stroh Center.
To start the regular season, BG hosts the Hampton Inn Invitational, Aug. 30-31. The Falcons play Marquette on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m., Creighton on Aug. 31 at 10 a.m. and close out the tournament against BYU at 7 p.m. on Aug 31.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 10:21

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