The Eastern Michigan University volleyball team served as host to Bowling Green State University for a pair of matches on Oct. 21-22, inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center.
On Friday, Oct. 21, the Eagles pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA D1 volleyball of the 2022-23 season by defeating the BGSU Falcons 3-2 in a classic five-set match.
The Falcons came into the weekend in sole possession of the first place in the MAC East standings and ranked in the top 30 nationally, while the Eagles are at the bottom of the MAC West division and were ranked 281 nationally before the first serve.
The two teams went back and forth as BGSU won sets one and three 25-21 and 25-16, respectively. EMU stole sets two and four by the marks of 25-19 and 25-17, respectively, to set up a fifth and final set that the Eagles would claim in a resounding 15-9 mark to give the team its first five-set victory in over a year. Before the game’s conclusion, Oct. 8, 2021 was the last time EMU won a five-set match.
Senior Samantha Basham was a star for the Eagles’ offense on Friday night, racking up 20 kills which is a season-high. Senior Raevan Chase added 11 kills offensively and was just as tough on defense, tallying 6 blocks at the net.
Also providing a defensive spark was freshman libero Emma McMahon, who recorded 23 digs in the contest and was one of four Eagles to produce a double-digit number of digs.
With Friday night’s victory, EMU volleyball became only the second team in the MAC to knock off BGSU thus far this season. It also marked coach Darcy Dorton’s first win over the Falcons in her career moving to a 1-6 record versus Bowling Green.
On Saturday afternoon, the Eagles once again showed promise and resilience against the MAC East-leading Falcons, but ultimately fell short in four sets by the mark of one set to three in favor of BGSU.
Set one went to the Falcons as the Eagles dropped a heartbreaker 25-23 that provided 12 ties and 7 lead changes. After dropping set two by the mark of 25-16, EMU was able to force a fourth set by defeating BGSU 26-24 in the third set, where the Eagles’ defensive efforts were emphatic as they recorded 5 blocks as a team. Bowling Green thwarted any hopes of another five-set match when the Falcons outpaced the Eagles 25-20 in the fourth set to win the match 3-1.
EMU fell to an overall record of 4-19 and a MAC record of 3-8, while BGSU improved to 14-8 overall and a 9-2 MAC record and retained ownership of first place in the east division.
Individually, Raeven Chase followed up on her strong performance from the night prior, this time racking up a staggering 11 blocks on defense. Saturday afternoon marked the second time that Chase has recorded double-digit blocks in a match this year placing her season total at 96, a number that ranks first in the MAC and 21st nationally.
Samantha Basham led the Eagles’ offensive effort again with 13 kills in the match, making it the tenth match of the season where the senior has hit double-digits. Emma McMahon, the defensive specialist, controlled the boundaries, adding 17 digs in the match, once again leading multiple defenders who recorded 10+ digs for the Eagles. McMahon's 17 digs on Saturday afternoon marked the ninth consecutive match in which the talented freshman has reached the double-digit mark.
The Eagles have now split the season series with the Falcons, making it the first time that has happened since 2018. The all-time series record between EMU and BGSU now stands at 39-26 in favor of the Falcons.
EMU volleyball will have nearly a week’s rest before beginning a four-match road trip that starts on Friday, Oct. 28, when the Eagles will take on the Bulls of the University at Buffalo in New York at 6 p.m. The team will continue this road trip on Saturday in Ohio as the Eagles and the University of Akron Zips are set to serve at 4 p.m.
For more information on the Eastern Michigan University women's volleyball team, you can visit emueagles.com
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