Volleyball Grounds Falcons, Wins 3-1
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan volleyball team snapped a modest two-match losing streak with an impressive performance against the defending Mid-American Conference Tournament champion, as the Broncos defeated the Bowling Green State Falcons 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-14, 25-17) at University Arena on Saturday. With the win, the Broncos improve to 14-11 overall, 7-5 in MAC play.
Junior setter Lexie Pawlik recorded her seventh double-double of the season, notching 40 assists and 10 digs to lead a Bronco offense that .248 for the match but .320 or better in two of four sets. Baznik's 10 digs also made her one of five Broncos to breach double-digits in the category, joining Caroline Rose (11), Lena Oliver (11), Alysia Baznik (10), and Kaycee Acree (10). Baznik recorded her ninth double-double of the season, posting 11 kills to go with her 10 digs. Ave Stout added 11 kills on an 11-3-25 hitting line for a .320 attack percentage, while Gillian Asque added nine kills, a .267 hitting percentage, and five blocks.
The Broncos came out guns blazing in the first set, hitting .324 from the floor and taking the early, definitive edge on the Falcons. Pawlik snapped a 4-4 tie with a tip to the back line for the kill, a play that would give the Broncos the lead for good in the first set. A series of errors by Bowling Green expanded the Broncos' lead to 14-10 at one point, and Claire Gerwig boosted the lead to five points with a roller shot to make it 17-12. Stout and Rachel Sheffer made the Broncos the first to 20 points in the set with a block of Paige Penrod to make it 20-14, and Baznik forced a BGSU timeout with a kill to make it 21-15. Asque notched a kill on the slide play to force set point at 24-19, and ripped another shot two points later to give the Broncos a 25-19 set win.
After the Falcons took the second set by a score of 25-19, the Broncos returned to work with a sterling third to take the 2-1 match lead. WMU never trailed in the third set, opening on a 6-2 run that was opened on a block from Pawlik and Stout, and capped with another tandem block, this one from Stout and Gerwig. Stout launched a kill through the blockers on the left side to take an 8-4 lead and force a BGSU timeout, and Asque made the Broncos the first to 15 with a kill to make it 15-10. The Broncos closed the set on a 10-4 run from there, expanding their lead to nine points with a kill from sheffer to make it 20-11 and one from Stout to make it 21-12. Asque and Baznik combined for a block to make it a 10-point edge, and the deficit reached its zenith on the next point when Sheffer and Asque blocked a Jelena Sunjic shot to make it 24-13. Asque finished the set off for the Broncos with a kill, giving them a 25-14 set win.
WMU took a 10-5 lead to open the fourth set, with Stout opening the proceedings with a kill and the pair of Acree and Baznik each recording service aces to extend the run. The Falcons pulled even with the Broncos midway through the set as Gerwig committed an attack error to make it 11-11, and the score was tied as late as 14-14, but a Bowling Green attack error gave the Broncos the opening they needed to finish the match. Baznik and Asque recorded kills on back-to-back points to give the Broncos a 19-16 lead, and the lead expanded to four points when Gerwig hit a roller to the center of the floor, finding the soft spot in the Falcon D for the kill to make it 21-17. Stout notched a kill to make it 23-17, and Baznik ended the match when her attack caromed off a back row defender into the stands to close the set at 25-17.