Bowling Green State University volleyball captured the Mid-American Conference tournament championship Tuesday, topping Ball State in five sets, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 15-9.
With the win, the Falcons advance to the program’s fourth NCAA Tournament appearance with the last coming during the 2020-21 season.
The Falcons will continue their season in the NCAA Tournament, beginning Dec. 1. The NCAA Selection Show will be held on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU
The Falcons battled through a close first set that went to the Cardinals before winning both the second and third sets.
The Cardinals took the fourth set to force a fifth, but the Falcons were able to tally a 15-9 score to clinch the win. Each of the first four sets finished with a 25-23 score.
The Falcons were led by MAC Tournament MVP Lauryn Hovey, a 6-foot freshman outside hitter. Hovey tallied the first 20-kill match of the season for BGSU, landing 22, to highlight her third triple-double of the season with 16 assists and 11 digs.
Hovey is one of just 10 players in the nation with three or more triple-doubles and one of two freshmen.
Hovey added seven blocks to her stat line as well, matching her career high. Hovey also attempted a team-high 49 attacks, setting a new career-high.
Petra Indrova, a 6-0 senior outside hitter, added a double-double and four aces while senior libery Yeliantz Torres contributed 33 digs, both being named All-Tournament.
Indrova finished the match with 14 kills and 15 digs to log her 12th double-double of the season.
With 14 kills, Indrova now has a career total of 1,336 to place her eighth in program history for career kills. Indrova also totaled 43 attacks to bring her mark to 3,590 career attacks, which is sixth all-time.
For Torres, it was her 13th match with 20-plus digs this season. Torres added six assists and an ace to her stat line The 33 digs brought Torres’ season total to 570 to move her up to eighth all-time for digs in a single season.
BGSU junior setter Jaden Walz added a double-double as well to catapult the Falcons to their second MAC Tournament Championship in the last three seasons.
Walz registered her 10th double-double of the season, concluding with a team-high 32 assists, matching her season-high, along with 12 digs.
After losing the first set by two points, the second set did not look good either for BGSU. A 2-0 spurt by the Cardinals allowed them to move ahead 22-20 and force a BGSU timeout.
The Falcons landed the next two points out of the timeout to tie it up at 22-22 and prompt a timeout from Ball State.
The Falcons were able to hold the momentum for a 25-23 set win, highlighted by a block from Hovey and 6-1 junior middle blocker Alexis Mettille.
In the third, a kill by Hovey clinched the set for the Falcons, 25-23. In the fourth, the Falcons took the first two-point lead of the set at 11-9, rolling into a 3-0 lead to force a Ball State timeout at 12-9.
The Cardinals chipped away at the lead, narrowing the gap to 18-17, but a pair of kills by BGSU 6- 0 sophomore outside hitter Kat Mandly (Perrysburg) pushed the BGSU advantage back to 20-17.
The Falcons stretched it out to a 4-1 run to bring the core to 22-18 and force a Ball State timeout. Ball State scored six straight to go up 24-22. A BGSU point followed before Ball State forced a fifth set 25-23.
The Falcons opened the fifth set by scoring the first three points for a quick 3-0 advantage.
Ball State closed the gap to 7-6, but BGSU 6-1 sophomore outside hitter Mia Tyler landed a kill for the Falcons to bring the media timeout and see the teams switch sides with BGSU leading 8-6.
The Falcons registered two more points to push the run to 3-0 and prompt a Ball State timeout with the score at 10-6 BGSU.
The lead stretched to 12-7 for the Falcons before another timeout from the Cardinals. Ball State made a late push, but the Falcons held strong for a 15-9 set, match and championship win.
Mettille had a team-high and career-high eight block assists in the match. Jessica Andrews, a 6-4 freshman middle blocker, was close behind with seven.
Tyler and Mandly both reached double-digit kills in the match with 12 and 11, respectively. In the match, the Falcons had four players reach double-digit kills.
With her first swing of the match, 5-10 senior outside hitter Katelyn Meyer (Eastwood) eclipsed 5,000 career attack attempts, becoming the first player in program history to reach the milestone.