Broncos Fall in Five on Road at Toledo
TOLEDO, Ohio - The Western Michigan volleyball team dropped a five-set heartbreaker on the road on Saturday, falling 3-2 (24-26, 25-16, 25-16, 20-25, 10-15) to the Toledo Rockets at Savage Arena. With the loss, the Broncos fall to 10-9 on the season, 3-3 in Mid-American Conference play.
Claire Gerwig had a standout night for the Broncos offensively, recording a match-high 18 kills on a .455 hitting percentage, as well as a match-high 19.0 points. Right behind here in kills was Rachel Sheffer, who contributed 16 kills. Stephenee Yancy had 13 kills and six blocks, and Alysia Baznik recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 10 kills and 14 digs. Lexie Pawlik set the Broncos to a .319 hitting percentage, recording 63 assists.
Lena Oliver had 18 digs to move into third place on the MAC career digs list, giving her 2,278 for her career; she now needs 10 more to pass Bowling Green's Chelsey Mack for second on the list. Baznik ranked second on the team with her 14 digs, and Kaycee Acree added 13 digs of her own.
After falling 26-24 in the first set, the Broncos responded with a pair of dominant set victories to take the lead on the Rockets. WMU opened the second set on a 5-0 run that featured two blocks and was capped on a kill from Yancy. The Broncos were the first to 10 points in the set thanks to a kill from Baznik, and the lead reached six points when Gerwig ripped a kill to make it 16-10. Ave Stout pounced a kill to extend the lead to eight points, making it 21-13, and a service ace from Lexie Pawlik stretched the lead to nine. Yancy finished the set off for the Broncos with the kill, pounding the ball to make it 25-16.
The third set played out in a nearly identical manner, with the Broncos opening on a 5-1 run to push the Rockets back on theri heels. Sheffer unloaded back-to-back kills early in the set to take a 9-3 lead over Toledo, and the lead was again extended to six points when Pawlik notched a kill of her own to make it 14-8. An attack error from Toledo's Jordan Kielty gave WMU its largest lead of the set at 20-10, and Baznik wrapped things up with a kill to take the third set by the same score as the second, 25-16.
Toledo took advantage of a Bronco service error in the fourth set to take the lead at 10-9, and would in fact never relinquish that advantage as they controlled the remainder of the set. The Broncos pulled to within 22-19 on a kill from Baznik, but the Rockets scored three of the final four points to take the set 25-20. They kept that momentum through the fifth set, as Toledo never trailed in the final frame in winning 15-10.