After leading the nation in digs per set since late September with an average of 6.81, Bowling Green junior libero Kallie Seimet added her name to another category last weekend.
The native of Oregon, Ohio – located just 29 miles from campus -- totaled 62 digs in two matches to surpass Illinois State’s Courtney Pence as the NCAA leader in total digs.
The seven-time Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Week recorded her 681st dig of the season – which also ranks second for a season in program history -- in a five-set match Nov. 4 against Kent State.
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“I didn’t even know that,” said Seimet, who was surprised to learn her name was atop two national statistical categories. “It is pretty cool to know that I am leaving my mark on this program and it feels good to break some incredible records. But, I really want to win a MAC Championship. I really want everyone to look at what the team has done.”
Bowling Green remains tied for first in the league with Miami (Ohio), each holding an 11-3 record. The Falcons are 15-10 overall and have won four of their last five matches entering the final weekend of the regular season.
As a freshman in 2015, Seimet played in all 29 matches and 112 sets. She led BGSU and ranked eighth in the MAC with an average of 4.38 digs per set. However, the transition to her sophomore season wasn’t as easy.
“I didn’t train as hard as I should have during the offseason after my first year,” Seimet said. “I got myself in the gym a lot more and got more reps in after my sophomore year because I realized how valuable offseason training is.”
When her sophomore season started in 2016, Seimet found herself in a new position – playing behind a teammate.
“My freshman year, I was the libero, but then I played behind a senior (Madeline Garda) my sophomore year. I have mostly played left back, so getting in the swing of middle back defense was difficult. She taught me how to get better at middle back.”
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Garda owns the Bowling Green record for digs in a season with 726, a mark Seimet is now stalking.
“Madeline played really relentless defense and taught me how to get to every ball. She taught me a lot about how to play tougher and what it takes to be a better libero overall.”
The extra time put in during the offseason, combined with Garda’s example, has paid off for Seimet in 2017. She has tallied 19 matches with more than 20 digs, nine with at least 30 and four over 40. Seimet reached her career and season high of 45 digs Sept. 21 in the conference opener at Miami (Ohio).
The motivation for becoming better also comes from close by. Her younger sister, Kendall, a freshman at Clay High School in Oregon, Ohio, pushes Seimet to become better every day.
“My little sister really looks up to me,” Seimet said. “She drives me to be a better player. I know that if I am playing well, she is watching and will want to improve her own game. I want her to go as far as she can and wants to in the sport.”
That was a big part of why Seimet decided to stay close to home and play at Bowling Green.
“I’m close with my family and they have always been my biggest supporters,” Seimet said. “I wanted them to be able to come to a lot of my games. I honestly didn’t see myself staying close or really even wanted to, but it just kind of worked out that way. I really meshed with the team and coaches and knew this was where I am supposed to play.”
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Through three seasons, Seimet has already made her mark on the record book and does not plan on slowing down.
Her seven selections as the MAC Defensive Player of the Week is a program record for a single season. In addition, Seimet’s 1,490 career digs ranks fifth in Bowling Green history.
“I want to keep improving,” Seimet said. “Most people look at my stats and see my defensive stats, but I have been working hard on my serve receive and I want to focus on getting better at that as well. I want to keep improving on the little things that nobody notices to polish up my game. I want to step up and be a great team leader.”
Congrats to Kallie Seimet, as she reached 1,200 career digs in tonight's match! She now ranks 8th in program history with 1,209 career digs! pic.twitter.com/IJM7bOY8AF— BGSU Volleyball (@BGSUVolleyball) October 1, 2017
The Falcons end conference play on the road Friday at Akron and Saturday at Buffalo. The MAC Tournament begins Nov. 16 in Oxford, Ohio.
“As a team, we focus on each match at a time and each play at a time,” Seimet said. “I know I need to keep playing hard for my team and go out strong. My team has been working hard all year for a conference title and it would be awesome to get a tournament bid.”
A trip to the NCAA Tournament would be the first for Bowling Green since the 2012 season and just the third time in the school’s 41-year history of varsity volleyball.