UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Bowling Green State University volleyball team claimed the first NCAA tournament victory in program history with a five-set win over Yale Friday in a first-round contest hosted by Penn State.
The Falcons improved to 22-10 on the season with a 16-25, 25-15, 25-21, 13-25, 15-11 win over the Bulldogs, who finished the season 18-6.
With the victory, Bowling Green will face the host Nittany Lions in a second-round match today starting at 7:30 p.m. That match will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Paige Penrod led the Falcons with 16 kills and added 13digs. Lindsey Butterfield had 14 kills and two blocks, while Leah Shaw added 10 kills and five blocks.
Setter Laura Avila had 43 assists in the win, while Bowling Green native Ashley Dunn had 24 digs at libero.
The Falcons started the match slowly and had more errors (eight) than kills (seven) in the first set. After a 6-6 start, Yale put together a 6-2 run to build a lead, and when BG managed to cut the deficit to 13-10, the Bulldogs rattled off five straight points and were never headed.
But the Falcons quickly turned things around in the second set, giving up the first point before claiming the next seven in a row and never allowing Yale to get closer than four points the rest of the way.
The third set was nip-and-tuck but went Bowling Green’s way thanks to 20 kills, including eight by Penrod and five by Butterfield.
Yale took the fourth set thanks to a run that saw the Bulldogs use seven straight points to turn a narrow 11-10 advantage into a comfortable 18-10 lead.
BG held a 7-5 lead in the decisive fifth set before Yale rattled off four straight points to take the lead. After a service error by the Bulldogs, back-to-back kills by Butterfield gave BG a brief advantage.
The Falcons then broke a 10-10 tie when Leah Shaw registered a kill, then a block, and Bowling Green closed out the match with two kills by Penrod sandwiched around a block by Kaitlyn Skinner and Avila.