Bowling Green volleyball had their season ended by Weber State in the NCAA tournament Wednesday night, losing in four sets. Their historic season ends with a record of 22-2.
“It’s always tough after these matches when you have a team that is so special and has provided my favorite coaching year in my career and with the year we had, it was tough to go into the locker room to talk to them,” BGSU head coach Danijela Tomic said.
Weber State forced the BGSU offense into mistakes. The Falcons only had one less kill than the Wildcats, 53-54. BGSU committed 26 attacking errors compared to Weber State’s 15.
The Wildcats also had the advantage in blocks. They had 17 while the Falcons had 7.5 total blocks.
Senior Jacqueline Askin led the team in kills with 16. Junior Katelyn Meyer had 11 in the match. Senior Katie Kidwell reached double digits with 10 kills. Kidwell also led the team in the blocking category with 2.5 total blocks.
BGSU started off strong. They grabbed an early 4-1 lead. Askin had four kills in the first five points for the Falcons. Weber State held strong though, going on a 5-1 run to claim a 12-11 lead. From that point on, they did not give up the lead.
For the Wildcats, redshirt sophomore Dani Nay carried the offense. Nay had seven kills and the set winning service ace. While on the other side, the Falcons could not get their offense to function. They had six attacking errors and only hit for 14.6%.
The Falcons could not get anything going in front of the net either. Weber State had four total blocks and BGSU had none. The Wildcats frustrated the Falcons and took the set 25-18.
The block party continued for Weber State. The Wildcats had three blocks during a set opening 8-3 run.
But BGSU eventually found some momentum in the set. BGSU recorded some blocks and got some service aces to get back into the set.
The offense found a rhythm after the defense tightened up. The Falcons went on a 8-1 run to get a 14-12 lead.
The defense was the difference in this set. They held the Wildcats to 19.5% hitting and forced six attacking errors. Sophomore Madelynn Luebcke led the charge on the front net with one block assist and one solo block as the Falcons ended the set on a 6-2 run to win 25-22.
Each team would match each other’s runs in the third set. At the media timeout, BGSU had the slim 15-14 lead. The serving game helped the Falcons in the beginning of the third set. They had three service aces.
The Wildcats took the reins late in the set. Weber State went on a 4-0 run to get the 22-18 lead. BGSU would make a late surge, but could not overcome their offensive woes. The Wildcats won 25-22.
Weber State came out determined in the fourth set, starting with a 4-0 run. BGSU did pull back within two points after giving up the run. Weber State bounced back though going on a 5-0 run to gain a 12-5 lead.
The Wildcats didn’t look back. They got to a 23-14 lead, looking like they were ready to cruise through the set. BGSU made Weber State work for their last two points. The Falcons went on a 5-0 run before the Wildcats could get another point. BGSU would not go down without a fight.
“That shows how much we love each other and how much we love the game. We continued to fight no matter what the score was,” Askin said.
Weber State out hit BGSU. The Wildcats had 15 kills and hit for 30.2%. The Falcons had 15 kills, but hit for 17.4%.
Weber State closed out the set with a 25-21 win. They now advance to the next round to take on the number one seed in Wisconsin.
The regular season and tournament MAC champions will now enter the offseason preparing to defend their titles.
“We will take a little break to rest and recover physically, mentally and emotionally. When we get back, let’s go. I’m already fired up, I’m ready to prepare for next season,” Tomic said.