Bowling Green rallied from a two game to none deficit to force a deciding game, but for the second straight match dropped a five-game match to a Mid-American Conference opponent as the Crusaders fell to Bowling Green 30-23, 30-27, 21-30, 28-30, 15-12 at the Falcons' Anderson Arena on Wednesday evening.
The Falcons raced out to a quick 9-3 lead in the opening game following a Taylor Twite kill. Sarah Schmalz (Corona, Calif./Riverside Christian H.S.) tried to bring the Crusaders, tallying three kills in a five-point span to cut the deficit to 13-11. A 5-0 BGSU run midway through the game broke the open though, increasing the Falcons lead to 23-13 and Valpo could not recover. Setter Sara Sikorski had five kills on five attempts for Bowling Green in the opener, while Michelle Robinson (Bloomington, Ill./Normal H.S.) led Valpo with four kills. Valpo hit just .175 in game one, compared with BGSU's .256 hitting percentage.
Game two turned into a nip-and-tuck affair. The lead went back and forth, with neither team gaining an advantage larger than two points until Valpo reeled off three straight points to gain an 18-15 lead. The Crusaders held its three-point lead at 27-24 before the Falcons ran off the final six points of the game to build a 2-0 advantage in the match. Heather Hynds (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) tallied five kills and hit .400 in the game for the Brown and Gold. As a team, Bowling Green hit .333 in game two.
The Crusaders turned things around in game three, using a 9-2 run early to build a 15-9 lead as Schmalz tallied four kills while Hynds and Robinson added two each during the stretch. BGSU closed to within three, 23-20, before Valpo tallied seven of the final eight points to close the game. Valpo held the Falcons to .077 hitting in game three, while improving to .250 themselves. The Crusaders also tallied 27 digs in the game with Marion Hansen (Huntley, Ill./Huntley H.S.) and Lindsey Moore (Wakarusa, Ind./Penn H.S.) each registering six each.
Trailing 7-4 in game four, Valpo utilized a 9-3 spurt to build a 13-10 advantage behind three Lauren Moulton (Elgin, Ill./Larkin H.S.) kills while also taking advantage of Bowling Green errors. The Falcons then ran off five straight points before Valpo went on another 7-3 run to take a 20-18 lead. BGSU consistently tied the game, at 25, 26, 27, and 28 before a Jessie Fox (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) kill and a block by Schmalz and Robinson ended the game and tied the match at two. Five blocks in the game for the Brown and Gold helped spearhead the victory, as did five kills by Moulton. Valpo hit .280 in the game, compared with the Falcons .157 hitting percentage.
Bowling Green scored first in the decisive fifth game, but Valpo ran off five straight points, beginning with kills by Schmalz, Hynds, and Robinson. A pair of attack errors by the hosts gave Valpo a 5-1 lead. The Falcons the went on a 5-1 run to tie the game at six. The teams traded side outs before a Melissa Mohr block gave BGSU a 9-8 lead, which then extended to 10-8. Valpo fought back and tied the game at ten following a Moulton kill and a Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) ace. The Falcons tallied three straight points before a Fox kill. Samantha Rennau and Schmalz traded kills before Rennau closed the match with another kill down the line.
For the match, Robinson led Valpo (10-3) with 16 kills, while Fox added 14. Schmalz hit .500 for the contest with 13 kills, while Moulton added the same hitting .370. Cyndi Norman (Minooka, Ill./Minooka H.S.) recorded a double-double with 62 assists and 13 digs, while Moore tallied 20 digs.
Rennau led Bowling Green (8-3) with 19 kills and 14 digs, while Chrissy Gothke registered 29 digs for the Falcons.
Valpo hit .212 for the contest, while Bowling Green hit .211. The Falcons held an 89-83 advantage in digs, while the Crusaders held a 13-8 blocking advantage.
Valparaiso will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. for the Nike Challenge. The Crusaders will face Central Michigan at 2:30 p.m. CDT and Michigan at 6 p.m. CDT.