BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University volleyball team knew it was facing a tough challenge to open the 2012 season. The Falcons opened the Marquette Challenge Friday night against the host school, dropping the match in straight sets 25-20, 25-21, 25-19.
The Falcons got a strong effort from Danielle Tonyan, who posted the first double-double of her career. Her 12 kills tied for match-high honors and she added a career-best 10 digs. While Lindsey Butterfield struggled in the attack, she also had 10 digs and served a career-best five aces. Butterfield entered the match with just one ace in her two-year career thus far.
Marquette was picked to finish second in the BIG EAST in the preseason coaches' poll and the Golden Eagles return much of the team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history a year ago. That experience, combined with a breakout performance by freshman Erin Lehman, helped Marquette to get past a Bowling Green team that stayed close throughout the evening.
Lehman had five kills in the first set, finishing with 12 for the evening, and helped Marquette set the tone early. Bowling Green dug itself a hole, falling behind 14-7. After Danijela Tomic, coaching her first match for the Falcons, used a timeout to settle down the team, BGSU began to rally. The Falcons closed to within two at 19-17 but Marquette held off the charge by hitting .448 to pull away late 25-20.
The second set started much better for Bowling Green as a Kaitlyn Skinner kill tied the frame at 13-13. Marquette, though, got three kills and an ace during a five-point spurt that gave the Golden Eagles control on the way to the 25-21 victory.
In the third set, Bowling Green again hung close through the early stages, leading by two points midway through the stanza. But with the score tied at 18-18, Marquette closed with a 7-1 run for the 25-19 victory to clinch the match.
While BGSU hit just .189 for the match, that average was brought down by a second set in which the Falcons had just five kills to five attack errors. Bowling Green hit respectably in the other two sets, posting a .289 attack rate in the first and .259 in the third. Marquette hit .327 but was only able to post 2.0 blocks. The Falcons dominated that statistic with 6.0 blocks, three from Skinner.
Ashley Dunn added 10 digs for Bowling Green, marking her 20th consecutive match with a double-digit dig total, dating back to the 2011 season. Laura Avila handed out 27 assists in the setter position.
Bowling Green, now 0-1 on the season, will play Northwestern Saturday out of the Big Ten Conference. The Wildcats will be playing their season opener when they face the Falcons at 4 p.m. CT.