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Published: Wednesday, 9/27/2006

BGSU volleyball team streaking

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - The eight-match winning streak the Bowling Green State University volleyball team is currently enjoying has happened because the players know their individual responsibilities, coach Denise Van De Walle says.

For example, there's the sparkplug senior (setter Chrissy Gothke), the freshman powerhouse (left side hitter Corey Domek), the blocking machine (middle Kendra Halm) and the clutch kill artist (middle Stephanie Swiger).

"We've been playing consistently nine players and I feel like they understand their role," Van De Walle said. "It's a total team effort and they're contributing at a pretty high level."

At 12-2, 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference, the Falcons are leading the MAC with a .284 hitting percentage and are averaging the most kills, assists blocks and digs per game. Halm leads the league in kills per game and blocks per game.

BGSU hasn't lost since Sept. 8, and has swept its past three matches. The Falcons play host to Miami tonight at 7 at Anderson Arena.

Swiger won the MAC East Player of the Week award on Monday for the second consecutive week. A junior from Findlay, Swiger had 14 kills and four blocks against the University of Toledo on Friday and 18 kills against Ball State on Saturday.

"Her performance this last weekend was unbelievable," Van De Walle said.

"Those are numbers that can rank you top 10 in the country, if you can do that day in, day out."

The Falcons started the season with a goal to win 20 matches. A new goal is to earn a bye for the MAC tournament.

"We haven't talked about winning the MAC, per se, it hasn't even come up," Van De Walle said. "We know that being one of the top four teams and getting a bye is within our reach, but it's a long season."

Saturday's win over Ball State was the first time in 14 years BGSU had beaten the Cardinals, Van De Walle's alma mater, in Anderson Arena. Van De Walle, in her 24th season at BGSU, is having as much fun as ever.

"I still have a lot of passion for the game," Van De Walle said. "Even though it's my 24th season, it doesn't feel like that. I've seen this team grow up and am excited to see what they can do."

DAVIS OUT FOR YEAR: Sophomore nose guard Nick Davis, who started the first three games for the BGSU football team, is out for the season after blowing out his knee in practice last week.

On a non-contact play, Davis tore his anterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus. He will likely have surgery next week and could be back for spring practice. True freshman D.J. Young started in Davis' place.

"D.J. did OK," BGSU coach Gregg Brandon said. "There were times when they blocked him. He is a young and talented freshman who will only get better with more opportunities."

NEWS & NOTES: Freshman Eddie Kipchoge won the MAC runner of the week award for the second week in a row. Kipchoge, from El Doret, Kenya, finished 34th at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, which featured some of the nation's best cross country runners. The BGSU women's soccer team has won 13 consecutive MAC matches and is 2-0-0 in conference play this season. This weekend at Cochrane Field the Falcons play host to Ball State (Friday at 4 p.m.) and Miami (Sunday at 1 p.m.). BGSU redshirt freshman Cameron Hepple, a member of the BGSU men's soccer team, played for the Bahamian national team in the CONACAF World Cup tournament earlier in the month.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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