ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Bowling Green State University volleyball picked up a five-set victory over Mississippi State on Thursday to begin the Michigan Challenge.
The win marks the 800th in program history for the Falcons while also going down as Coach Danijela Tomic’s 175th win as the head coach of the Bowling Green Falcons.
The win will go down as the second of the season for BGSU against a team receiving votes in the AVCA coaches’ poll, previously defeating Tennessee earlier this season.
“This was a big win for us tonight,” Tomic said. “Not only because we beat a very good Mississippi State team, but because of how we did it.
“Our serving was strong again and made a big difference. The biggest improvement from last week was our offense. Having four hitters in double-digit kills shows how powerful our offense can be.”
The Falcons were paced by freshman Lauryn Hovey who landed a team-high 15 kills to go along with 15 assists, both career-highs, for her first career double-double. Hovey tacked on a career-high five digs as well.
Petra Inrova logged a double-double as well for the Falcons with 14 kills and 13 digs while Yeliantz Torres came one assist shy of a double-double with 16 digs and nine assists.
Indrova added her first solo block of the season as well as a season-high four block assists.
Junior setter Jaden Walz had 29 assists, junior defensive specialist Alex Laboy served two aces, and 6-foot-1 junior middle blocker Alexis Mettille had a career-high eight blocks, including three solo blocks.
In the all-important fifth set The Falcons tallied the first three points to jump out to a quick 3-0 lead. The BGSU lead would stretch to 5-1 to prompt a timeout from Mississippi State.
Mississippi State utilized a 4-0 run of their own to cut into the Bowling Green lead at 7-6 with the Falcons taking a timeout this time.
The trading of runs continued with the Falcons seeing a 3-0 run to push ahead 11-7 and force the second Mississippi State timeout of the set. Mississippi State tallied the next point, but another 4-0 run gave the Falcons the fifth set and the match victory.
“It’s not easy to gain the momentum back after losing two sets going into a fifth set,” Tomic said. “We are proud of our team and how they refocused and executed at a high level when it mattered most. That’s a sign of mental toughness and what we call a warriors’ mindset.”
Bowling Green is now 2-0 when facing Mississippi State, also topping the Bulldogs during the 1999 season.
The 26-24, 25-23, 24-26, 26-25, 15-8 win moves BGSU to 5-5 on the season.
The Falcons will conclude the non-conference schedule and the Michigan Challenge on Sunday against host Michigan with first serve at 2 p.m. at the Crisler Center.