Western Michigan def. Toledo, 3-0
Bowling Green def. Akron, 3-0
Buffalo def. Miami, 3-0
Northern Illinois def. Ball State, 3-1
Western Michigan def. Toledo, 3-0
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Playing their first home match of the 2012 season, the Western Michigan volleyball team put on a show for the hometown fans with an exciting 3-0 victory over the visiting Toledo Rockets on Friday. With the win, the Broncos improve to 9-6 on the season, including a 2-1 record in Mid-American Conference play.
The Broncos displayed some offensive fireworks for the Kalamazoo fans, hitting a blistering .385 in their three-set win; the Broncos recorded just nine errors in the entire match, with only three errors through the first two sets combined. Jessica Brown pumped in 12 kills and hit .333, while junior Ali Gossen has 10 kills and hit .391. Richelle Ranny had the team lead for those players with more than 10 attempts, hitting .500 with seven kills.
The Broncos trailed for much of the first set against the Rockets, but were able to rally and turn the tables against the visitors from Ohio. Toledo led 12-7 at one point, but the Broncos sparked a run with a solo block from Stephenee Yancy. WMU tied the set 14-14 with a kill from Brown, and the Broncos took the lead on the next point thanks to a Toledo attack error.
The momentum now firmly in WMU's favor, the Broncos jumped out to a three-point lead of their own when Carlee Berland ripped a kill cross court to make it 19-16. The lead ballooned to four points when Gossen went down line for a kill to make it 23-19, and Gossen found paydirt against just a few points later to give the Broncos a 25-21 set win.
WMU made things easier on itself in the second set, taking the lead early and holding one for the win and a 2-0 advantage. The Broncos first took the lead when Gossen and Brown combined for a block, part of a 5-1 run that was capped by a kill from Norris. A Bronco attack error would tie the set at 13-13, but it would be the last time the Rockets sniffed the lead as WMU responded with five of the next six points. After Norris and Yancy combined for a block to make it 18-14, the Broncos expanded the lead to five points when Berland and Gossen recorded back-to-back kills to make it 21-16. Caroline Rose notched a kill from the back row to make it set point, and a Toledo attack error gave the Broncos a 25-19 set win.
Toledo gave the Broncos everything they could in the third set, but the resilient WMU squad bounced back from a deficit with a late run to snatch victory in the third set. Toledo's Lauren Rafdal recorded a service ace to give the Rockets a 20-16 lead, but the Broncos would come out of a timeout on fire; Gillian Asque ripped a kill down the middle to get things going, and Berland found paydirt on the next point to make it 20-18. Terin Norris recorded service aces on two of the next three points, and with that the Broncos took a 21-20 lead.
With the teams trading points and the set tied at 26 apiece, Gossen broke the stalemate with a high hands kill to give her team match point. The Broncos ultimately took the set and the match thanks to a Rockets' attack error.
The Broncos will be back in action on Saturday, September 29 at 5 p.m. when they host the Ball State Cardinals at University Arena.
Bowling Green def. Akron, 3-0
Akron, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University volleyball team moved to 3-0 in Mid-American Conference action for the first time since 2006 as the Falcons swept Akron 26-24, 25-20, 25-18 Friday night on the road.
BGSU has not lost a set in its first three conference matches this year, a feat the Falcons have never accomplished in program history. The 2006 team that started 3-0 won its first 10 conference matches before finishing 13-3 in league play. In all, this is the seventh time the Bowling Green volleyball team has started MAC play with at least three consecutive wins.
Much like the team’s win over Ohio to open conference play a week ago, the critical points in this match came very late in the first set. Bowling Green staved off two set points by Akron after falling behind 24-22. Danielle Tonyan posted a kill to pull the Falcons within one and then Ashley Dunn had two great serves, the first of which was an ace and the second of which led into a Lindsey Butterfield kill to put BGSU ahead 25-24. After an Akron timeout, Butterfield came up big again with another kill for the 26-24 win.
"Our team is playing with a lot of confidence and it showed in the first set when we saved two set points and were able to come from behind to win 26-24," BGSU Head Coach Danijela Tomic said.
From that point forward, the Falcons never trailed by more than one point. In fact, Bowling Green used a 7-1 run to open the third set and never trailed in that frame.
Akron did hang tough in the second set as the Falcons led by a slim 17-16 score late. But Paige Penrod came up with a kill and Tonyan added two more to give BGSU the breathing room it needed to finish off the 25-20 win.
After that 7-1 run to start the third, Akron answered with an identical 7-1 spurt to tie the score. The Falcons, though, used another 7-1 stretch midway through the third to put the match away.
Butterfield, the defending MAC East Offensive Player of the Week, had a match-high 16 kills and hit .438. Penrod added 15 kills and 15 digs, while Tonyan ended with 10 kills. Dunn had a match-high 19 digs and had both of the team’s service aces. Leah Shaw, the defending MAC East Defensive Player of the Week, finished with a team-best three blocks and Laura Avila handed out 42 assists and had six digs.
As a team, Bowling Green hit a season-high .330 and tied its season-low with just 14 attack errors. Akron hit just .185, the third consecutive match in which the Falcons have held an opponent below .200.
"This was a great first conference road win," Tomic said. "Our offense was solid on the pins and we increased our hitting efficency each set which is something we've been working on. We struggled with blocking tonight but were able to make some adjustments in the third set. We'll continue to focus one point at a time, one set at a time and one match at a time. We'll enjoy this win for a few more hours and then we have to get ready for our match against Buffalo tomorrow."
Akron falls to 8-7 overall and 1-2 in MAC play. Bowling Green has now won five of its last six matches to get back to .500 at 7-7. At 3-0 in league play, the Falcons hold a one-game lead over Ohio at the top of the MAC East Division standings. BGSU will play at Buffalo Saturday night at 7 p.m. looking to improve its winning streak to four.
Buffalo def. Miami, 3-0
BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo volleyball team kept up its stellar play at Alumni Arena on Friday night as UB won its first Mid-American Conference match of the season, defeating Miami, 3-0. The win was UB’s fifth straight at home and the Bulls have now taken 10 straight sets at home against their competition. The Bulls also improve to 7-8 on the year and 1-2 in the MAC.
The Bulls took the match 27-25, 25-23, 25-23 as they outhit the RedHawks, .145 to .104. UB had to come back in each of the first two sets as neither team was able to take large advantages in the match. Miami was up late in the first set 19-15, but the Bulls scored four straight points thanks to freshman Akeila Lain who registered a block and kill during the run. Each team then had a set point and the Bulls trailed 25-24 before scoring the final three points of the set. Two of those points came off Dana Musil kills, while the third was a block from Musil and Lain giving Buffalo the opening set.
The Bulls got out to a 14-9 lead in the second set, but Miami came back, taking a late lead at 22-20. However, Buffalo ended the set on a 5-1 run, capped off on a pair of kills from Lain in the middle. UB led for the majority of the third set, but Miami was able to keep it close and tie it up late at 23-23. The Bulls responded with back-to-back kills from Musil and Lain to clinch the set and the match.
“At times I thought it was a little sloppy on both sides of the net, but I am proud of the way our kids hung in there and gutted out the win,” said head coach Todd Kress. “We got a lot of great contributions tonight especially from our middles, who I think played their best match of the season.”
The Bulls were led by their pair of middles, who combined for 25 kills and six errors on 43 attempts, hitting .442 on the night. Junior Carissa McKenna had another outstanding evening against the RedHawks as she recorded a career-high 15 kills. McKenna’s previous high was 11, which she set against Miami last season. The West Bloomfield, MI native added three blocks. Lain finished with 10 kills and just two errors, while adding to her league-leading blocking total with six, including one solo. Musil added seven kills, while freshman Tahleia Bishop finished with six. Junior Dani Reinert led the offense with 36 assists, adding seven digs as well.
Defensively, Buffalo was led by 16 digs from Kelly Svoboda and nine from sophomore Liz Scott. Six different players recorded at least one block in the contest.
The Bulls remain home tomorrow evening when they host Bowling Green in Alumni Arena. The Falcons are coming off a 3-0 win at Akron tonight and are the only team undefeated in conference play in the MAC East.
Northern Illinois def. Ball State, 3-1
DeKALB, Ill. – Behind a strong performance from its outside hitters, the Northern Illinois volleyball team won its Mid-American Conference home opener 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-17) over Ball State Friday night at Victor E. Court. In their first home match since August 28th the Huskies (11-8, 2-1 MAC) held edges in kills (55-46), hitting percentage (.280-.240) and digs (52-49) to top the Cardinals (9-7, 2-1 MAC) for the third straight time and take a 28-27 lead in the all-time series.
“It’s great to be back at home,” said NIU Head Coach Ray Gooden. “I thought we had to play really well to beat a solid Ball State team. It was our first time home in a month and our first home conference match; it was their first time on the road in conference – so both teams were trying to feel each other out in the first set. We were about a play away from tying it at 23 [in the first set], but they were able to pull it out.
“We did a really good job after that of controlling our side. Coach [Steve] Shondell is a great coach with a great program. For us to defend our home court tonight was really good for the Huskies tonight. We appreciate the support from all the fans, student-athletes, community – it was great being back at Victor E. Court.”
Senior outside Meghan Romo (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) and sophomore outside MacKenzie Roddy (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) combined for 34 kills, 19 digs and hit .320. Romo paced the Huskies with 19 kills and a .378 attacking clip. Roddy hit .316 with 15 putaways, adding 12 digs to boot.
Running the offense, freshman Alexis Gonzalez (Fresno, Calif./Bullard) was stellar as well. The rookie setter had 46 assists, four digs, three kills, a season-high-tying three aces and a block.
Defensively, junior Justine Schepler (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) notched a team-high 14 digs. Junior middle blocker Sarah Angelos (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) led the front row with a season-high-tying five blocks.
Also figuring into the mix was a loud crowd at Victor E. Court as Ball State missed on 16 serves, feeling the heat from the Huskie faithful.
A close first set went the Cardinals’ way as Schepler just missed digging up a Ball State kill that made it a 24-22 lead for BSU. An ace on the next play then gave NIU a 1-0 match deficit.
Finding their rhythm again at home, the Huskies opened up a 16-10 lead in the second frame after a kill from Roddy and combo block from Roddy and Angelos. NIU kept scoring from there as senior middle Mary Kurisch (La Crosse, Wis./West Salem) scored the final two Huskie points.
After giving up an early 10-5 lead in the third, NIU took advantage of three poor BSU serves. With the Huskies ahead 20-18, the Cardinals notched three straight kills but failed to serve the ball in each time on the ensuing play. Then, a ball handling error set NIU up with set-point and a Cardinal attack error swung the match in the Huskies’ favor, 2-1.
Feeling all the momentum, NIU charged out to a 13-7 lead after back-to-back kills from Romo, and Ball State had no answer. The closest the Cardinals came to coming back was at 21-17 but Roddy and Gonzalez countered with kills to end the threat.
NIU continues its MAC home opening weekend tomorrow at 7 PM CT against Toledo (7-8, 1-2 MAC).