BGSU volleyball won a hard fought 3-2 match against Miami to advance to the Mid-American Conference championship game at the Stroh Center Friday evening. It took five sets to get the Falcons back into the championship game for the second straight season.
“They (Miami) gave us a fight. Looking at the box score, I don’t think we won in too many categories but we won on the scoreboard. We found a way to win,” BGSU head coach Danijela Tomic said.
Miami would have the advantage on offense. The RedHawks had 70 kills compared to the Falcons’ 53 kills.
The Falcons were propelled by playing cleaner volleyball. They also had a major advantage in total blocks, 9-3.
Junior Katelyn Meyer led the Falcons with 19 kills. Senior Jacqueline Askin was second with 17 kills. Sophomore Petra Indrova also reached double-digits with 13.
Senior Katie Kidwell led the block party with six block assist.
Junior Julia Walz and sophomore Yelianiz Torres each reached 20+ digs. Walz had 22 while Torres had 20.
The first set would start with Miami getting the early advantage. They got a lead and kept a strong hold on it.
BGSU could not get a run going. Eventually, Miami extended their lead with a 5-0 run.
The RedHawks had their way on offense. As a team, they hit for 54.5% with 13 kills. They also had three service aces.
The Falcons struggled. They never had a lead in the set. As a team, they hit for 21.7%.
Miami would deliver the first blow in the match with a 15-25 set win.
The second set started off similar to the last. Miami jumped out to a 3-0 lead. This time, BGSU responded with a 4-0 run to get their first lead of the match.
From then on, both teams would go point for point to keep it tied.
Down 11-12, the Falcons found a rhythm and went into the media timeout on a run. A 4-0 run gave them a 15-12 lead. The run would end at 7-0.
BGSU tightened up on defense. They held Miami to 14.6% hitting and allowed zero aces.
The Falcons did improve on offense, hitting for 25.8% this time. They also reached double digit kills as a team with 12.
At the end of the set, Miami did go on a 4-0 run to cut into the deficit.
BGSU ended the run and won the set 25-21.
Askin, Meyer and Indrova accounted for 20 of the 21 team kills through the first two sets.
The Falcons would start the set on their heels again. The RedHawks opened the set on a 4-0 run.
BGSU would hang around. Eventually, the Falcons went on a 4-0 run to cut the RedHawks’ lead to one.
Both teams then traded blows heading into the home stretch of the set. Miami struck first with a 3-0 run to lead 19-17.
Out of a BGSU timeout, the Falcons went on a 3-0 lead to take a one point lead.
The set headed into extra points.
Down the stretch, the offense got it going. Askin, Meyer and Indrova each recorded five kills to power the offense.
A Torres service ace gave the Falcons the 27-25 set win.
The fourth set started off close. Tied at five, BGSU went on a 4-0 run to gain momentum in the set.
Miami eventually came back to tie the set at 11. From that point on, BGSU would try to separate themselves. Miami would always respond to keep the set close.
This pattern continued into the late stages of the set.
Both teams weren’t efficient on offense. BGSU hit for 5.7% while Miami hit for 18.6%. The RedHawks had a commanding lead in kills, 16-6.
BGSU would take a 22-20 lead before Miami took a timeout. After that timeout, Miami went on a 5-0 run to win the fourth set.
Both teams would not back down. Heading into the media timeout, BGSU had a slim 8-7 lead.
The Falcons led 11-9 when the RedHawks would call a timeout. Out of the timeout, Indrova collected two service aces to extend the lead.
Both teams had 10 kills and were efficient on offense. The difference would be the three service aces by BGSU.
Miami would make a small comeback. The RedHawks were within one, 13-14. Tomic challenged the point. The call was reversed to give the Falcons a 15-12 set win.
The Falcons will now wait for their opponent for the championship game. Whoever the opponent is, the approach will be the same from BGSU.
“When you get to the championship game, it’s less about the game plan. You expect both teams to execute the game plan. It’s about the mentality going into the match,” Tomic said.
The team is hopeful they can get off to a better start than today.
“I think we got the nerves out. We are going to come in tomorrow with a better first set and a better mentality,” Askin said.
The match will be tomorrow at 5 p.m. EST and be streamed on ESPN+.