Cleveland, Ohio - Bowling Green freshman outside hitter Nicole Slimko
was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Offensive Player of the Week and sophomore libero Madeline Garda
earned the league's Defensive Player of the Week award, as announced by the conference Monday afternoon.
Slimko and Garda led Bowling Green to a 2-0 weekend, helping the Falcons to vault back into contention for a MAC Tournament berth. BGSU swept Akron Friday and followed that up with a five-set win over Buffalo Saturday. The victories avenged three-set losses to both teams earlier in the year and it marked the first time this year that Bowling Green won back-to-back contests.
Slimko, who hails from Crystal Lake, Ill., had 35 kills and hit .274 on the weekend. She was the match leader in kills in both contests, averaging 4.38 kills per set and 4.94 points per set. In Friday's sweep of Akron, Slimko had 15 kills and hit .382, adding three blocks and four digs. In a dominant second-set performance, she tallied seven kills on 15 swings without an error and then helped BGSU pull away in the third set with five kills without an error and two blocks. On Saturday, Slimko had a match-high 20 kills, three more than Buffalo's Tahleia Bishop, who entered the match as the conference leader in that category. She had a strong all-around match with three blocks, three digs and ace as well. In the pivotal fifth set, she opened the scoring with a kill and finished off the Bulls with a service ace.
Garda, who comes from West Chester, Ohio, averaged 6.00 digs per set and was perfect in 41 serve receive attempts. Garda had 19 digs and two aces, without a service error, in the team's three-set win over Akron Friday. She had 12 of those digs as the Falcons dominated the second set 25-15 and added an ace in that stanza. In Saturday's win over Buffalo, Garda tied her career-high with 29 digs and was perfect on 28 serve receive attempts. Bowling Green's defense got stronger as the match wore on and the Falcons overcame a first set loss to win a match for the first time this year. BGSU had a match-high 21 digs in the fourth set, with Garda posting 10. She added four more digs in the defining fifth set.
With the victories over the weekend, Bowling Green improved to 4-8 in MAC play, climbing into a three-way tie for the eighth and final spot in the MAC Tournament. BGSU closes out the regular season with four consecutive road contests, beginning with a match Thursday night at Miami, starting at 7 pm.