The Bowling Green State University volleyball program will open the 2022 campaign at the Tennessee Classic before returning home to the Stroh Center for the Falcon Invitational, beginning Thursday.
The Falcons enter the 2022 season with a roster of 16 players, including three newcomers. In Tennessee, BGSU will face Purdue, Loyola Chicago and the host Volunteers.
BGSU returns Hanna Laube, Katelyn Meyer and Julia Walz who will all use their COVID year of eligibility this season.
Entering her fifth season with BGSU, the 5-foot-10 Meyer is within range of a couple program records.
Meyer, an Eastwood graduate, enters the season with 4,242 career attack attempts, ranking second in program history. Meyer needs 240 attack attempts to break the program record.
As for kills, Meyer is fifth all-time with 1,442 and needs 20 to move into fourth and 268 to break the program record.
Three players on the Falcons’ roster were named to the Preseason All-MAC Team for the East Division with Petra Indrova, Meyer and Walz all being listed. BGSU had the most players in the East named with Ohio having two and Kent State one.
Indrova, Meyer and Walz were all named First-Team All-MAC last season with Walz being named MAC Defensive Player of the Year and Indrova the MAC Player of the Year.
Bowling Green was picked to finish first in the Mid-American Conference East Division receiving 11 first place votes, as voted on by the conference’s 12 head coaches. Kent State received the other first place vote.
In addition to being picked to win the East division, the Falcons were predicted to win the MAC Tournament as well with seven votes. Ball State received four votes and Western Michigan had one.
Indrova said winning the MAC tops on their list of goals.
“We want to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves, so it is going to the NCAA tournament, winning in the preseason, winning in the MAC, and then winning the MAC title,” Indrova said.
Indrova, a 6-foot senior outside hitter, is taking pride in being a leader this season.
“Since I’m a senior, I try to lead by example. I try to lead the team and be very specific with communications. It took some time in learning — all four years,” Indrova said.
It all starts with three non-league matchups in Tennessee, including the season opener against Purdue. A year ago Purdue advanced to the Elite 8 of the 2021 NCAA volleyball tournament, falling to Pitt.
Purdue entered the tournament as a six seed, topping Illinois State, Dayton and BYU in the tournament.
The Boilermakers concluded the season with a record of 26-7, including a four-match win streak that began their season. They ended the season by winning 12 of their last 14 matches.
Purdue returns 10 players from the Elite 8 team a year ago, but the Boilermakers lost their team leader in assists and digs and the team’s top two players in kills.
However, Purdue has not only made seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances but have won at least one match in the NCAA Tournament for seven consecutive seasons.
Next is Loyola Chicago, which is coming off a 22-10 season in 2021. The campaign included multiple six-match win streaks for the Ramblers.
As for the postseason, Loyola Chicago topped Valparaiso in five sets before falling to Illinois State in five sets.
BGSU is set to be the Ramblers’ first opponent of the season and the first of two MAC foes, scheduled to face Toledo on Sept. 2 at the Michigan Invitational.
The Ramblers will enter the 2022 season with experience on their side. Loyola Chicago returns their top two leaders in kills as well as their top two leaders in digs from a season ago. As for assists, the team lost the top two players in the stat but retain the third.
Tennessee will be serving as the host for the weekend and the final opponent for the Falcons. The Lady Volunteers are coming off an NCAA tournament appearance that included a victory over North Carolina before falling to Ohio State in the second round.
For the season, Tennessee finished 20-10 with a victory over No. 9 Baylor and a five-set loss against No. 7 Pittsburgh.
After advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago, Tennessee opened up the 2022 season with an exhibition against Belmont, winning in three sets.
The Lady Vols also return their setter from 2021, who also finished third on the team in digs and sixth in kills last season.