The Bowling Green State University volleyball team took care of business in its first match of the final weekend of the regular season, sweeping Miami 25-20, 25-15, 25-17 Thursday night. With the win, the Falcons are just one more victory from earning the Mid-American Conference regular season championship.
Bowling Green controlled the match in almost every statistical category, hitting .340 for the match and holding Miami to just a .179 attack percentage. The Falcons also had 22 more digs and four more blocks than the RedHawks. Miami did have one more ace than Bowling Green, but the RedHawks had 11 service errors and the Falcons went without even one for the first time this year.
Paige Penrod had arguably her best match of the year, posting 18 kills and a season-best .444 attack percentage. With those 18 kills, she went over 400 in a season for the second time in her three-year career. Penrod helped the Falcons set the tone early with eight first-set kills.
In fact, Bowling Green seemed to break Miami's spirit late in the first set. The RedHawks hung close throughout the opening frame and tied the score at 20-20 on a Jenny Ingle kill. But Leah Shaw followed with a kill and Penrod added two more as the Falcons scored the final five points for the 25-20 win.
From there, Miami struggled to find offensive rhythm for the rest of the night. After hitting .394 in the first set, the RedHawks boasted just a .119 second set and a .032 third set. Bowling Green closed out the match with a 10-2 run after the third set was tied at 15-15.
Penrod added five digs, three blocks and an ace to her 18 kills. The Falcons held a 52-30 lead in digs with Danielle Tonyan and Ashley Dunn sharing team-high honors with 13. Laura Avila handed out 33 assists and finished with nine digs, while Leah Shaw ended with six blocks.
With the loss, Miami falls to 9-19 overall and 4-11 in conference play. Bowling Green sweeps the season series with the RedHawks and improves to 18-9 overall and 13-2 in MAC play. The Falcons are now just one win shy of their overall win total from a year ago but has seven more conference wins.
Bowling Green, which has clinched a top two seed for the MAC Tournament, will go for the MAC regular season championship Saturday. The Falcons hold a narrow lead over 12-2 Ohio and a road victory against a strong Northern Illinois team will give the Falcons their first league title since 1992. Even with a win, Bowling Green could still finish as the overall No. 1 or No. 2 seed for the MAC Tournament depending on various tiebreakers.