BGSU volleyball fans will have one opportunity to see the Falcons at home before conference play begins in more than a month. The team will hold a Brown and Orange intrasquad scrimmage Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Stroh Center. The Falcons will be broken up into two teams (with assistant coach Jessica Hohl also filling in for one of the teams) to play a regulation best-of-five match. Following the match will be an autograph signing meet-and-greet session in the Stroh Center Hall of Fame area and the team will then hold a clinic for all children 12 and under.
The team will be broken up into two squads for Saturday's scrimmage. The orange team, which will be the visitors will consist of the following: Kelsey Bates, assistant coach Jessica Hohl, Laura Avila, Leah Shaw, Cassie Berning, Danielle Tonyan, and Ashley Dunn. The brown team, which is the designated home team, will consist of: Erica Fullenkamp, Lindsey Butterfield, Kari Galen, Lauren Mizgalski, Paige Penrod, Kaitlyn Skinner, and Libby Dachenhaus. The orange team will be coached by Tucker Short and the brown will be led by Danijela Tomic.
FOLLOWING THE FALCONS
If you aren't in the arena for Saturday's scrimmage, live stats will be available via links at BGSUFalcons.com. Fans can also keep up with the action on Twitter by following @BGAthletics and @jknavel.
ON THE TUBE
BGSU's intersquad scrimmage will be televised via tape-delay by the Buckeye Cable Sports Network (BCSN), broadcasting to the greater Toledo area. Information on viewing the broadcast is available at bcsn.tv.
NEW COACHING STAFF
For the first time in 30 years, the BGSU volleyball team has a new head coach. Three-time Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year Danijela Tomic takes over leadership of the program after 29-year head coach Denise Van De Walle retired following the 2011 season. Tomic spent seven years as the head coach at FIU, racking up a career record of 158-61. Assistant coaches Tucker Short and Jessica Hohl are also new to the program, as is Coordinator of Operations Lindsay Laurent.
For the past few years, we've talked about how young the BGSU volleyball team is, but that's not the case anymore. Eleven of the 13 team members are either juniors or seniors (four seniors and seven juniors). That total is more than any other in the Mid-American Conference. Akron, Ball State, and Northern Illinois all have nine juniors and seniors. On the other end of the spectrum, Kent State has just three and Western Michigan has four.
TRANSFER OF POWER
The lone newcomer on the BGSU volleyball team is sophomore transfer Kelsey Bates. Bates, who hails from Willshire, Ohio, spent her freshman season at Syracuse before returning to her home state for this season. She is expected to compete for time as both a middle and right side hitter.
With an 11-win increase over a year ago, Bowling Green was easily the most improved team in the Mid-American Conference a year ago. The Falcons improved from 8-24 in 2010 to 19-12 in 2011. The second most improved team in the conference was Central Michigan, which had a five-win increase.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
The Stroh Center has proven to be a strong home court advantage for all three BGSU athletic teams that compete in the arena. For volleyball, BGSU stunned Michigan State a year ago in the arena in four sets behind a record crowd of 2,961. In fact, that was the largest crowd any MAC team played in front of a year ago, home or away.
DUNN IS DIGGING IT
Ashley Dunn finished the 2011 season with 19 consecutive double-digit dig matches and reached that total in 26 of the last 27 overall. The 19 consecutive streak is the longest at BGSU since Chelsey Meek's NCAA record 89 consecutive matches with double-digit digs from 2006-08. In fact, her 457 digs as a freshman rank as the eighth most in a single in school history and her 450 last year is the 10th most. She needs 267 more to break into the top 10 in career digs as a Falcon.
THE DYNAMIC DUO
Bowling Green has one of the most talented attacking duos in the Mid-American Conference in sophomores Paige Penrod and Danielle Tonyan. The pair was the only set of teammates in the MAC to both rank in the top 10 in the league in kills and points a year ago. Both have recorded more than 300 kills in each of their first two years. Only one player in program history, Corey Domek, reached 300 kills in all four years of a career.
Four active players have recorded at least one double-double in their career (posting at least 10 kills, digs, assists, blocks, or aces in a match in two of those categories). With six a year ago, Paige Penrod has a team-high 16 career double-doubles, followed by Laura Avila with 10, Erica Fullenkamp with five and Ashley Dunn with one.
20 KILLS OR 20 DIGS
Danielle Tonyan enters the 2012 season having recorded 20 kills in a match seven times in her career, while Paige Penrod has reached that total five times. Tonyan's seven career 20-kill matches are the most since Corey Domek had nine from 2006-09. Ashley Dunn posted seven 20-dig matches as a freshman and had three more a year ago for a career total of 10. Her career total is the most since Chelsey Meek had 44 career matches with at least 20 digs from 2005-08.
Danielle Tonyan was named first team All-MAC as a sophomore in 2011, becoming the first player to earn that honor since Shari Luther in 2009. Kendra Halm was the last BGSU sophomore to be named first-team All-MAC and she went on to earn first team honors again as both a junior and senior.
HITTING THE BOOKS
Bowling Green has always stressed academics and Falcon volleyball has been a model of that philosophy. The 2011 BGSU volleyball team received the AVCA Academic Team Award for the 12th consecutive season, compiling a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or better. The Falcons have the second longest streak in all of NCAA Division I and has received the award 13 times overall. Two BGSU players, Laura Avila and Kari Galen, were named Academic All-MAC a year ago, while Lindsey Butterfield, Libby Dachenhaus, Ashley Dunn, and the graduated Emily Kauth were named honorable mention.