Volleyball secures Wagon Wheel victory in weekend split

Senior+outside+hittter+Lexi+Mantas+spikes+the+ball+during+the+5th+set+against+Northern+Illinois+Friday+Oct.+19%2C+2018.+Kent+State+won+the+match.

Senior outside hittter Lexi Mantas spikes the ball during the 5th set against Northern Illinois Friday Oct. 19, 2018. Kent State won the match.

Sean Blevins

Kent State volleyball (13-15, 6-8 Mid-American Conference) had an up and down weekend, first falling to Buffalo, but beating crosstown rival Akron to end the weekend. 

Buffalo 3, Kent State 0

Buffalo (15-10, 7-6 MAC) beat Kent State in straight sets to improve their seeding in the upcoming MAC postseason tournament.  

The Bulls started the first set up 6-3. The Flashes then tied it up at seven. It was all Buffalo from that point on as they won the set, 25-17.

Kent State quickly fell behind 8-2 into the second set. Buffalo decimated the Flashes in this one, as they won it 25-14, to go up two sets to none.

The third set was a little closer at the start as the Bulls were only up 8-7. The Flashes then surrendered five straight points as they fell down by six, 13-7. Kent State made a late run to cut the lead to three, 21-18. The Bulls were too much in the end as they won the final set, 25-18. Buffalo won both regular season matches.

The Flashes struggled everywhere in this one as only two players posted a positive attack percentage. Freshman Blocker Danie Tyson led the team in kills and points with seven.

Kent State 3, Akron 2

The Flashes beat the Zips (11-14, 3-11 MAC) in five sets to win the season series.

Kent State started off well in this one as they scored the first five points of the match. The Flashes expanded the lead to 11-3 and eventually 16-6. Akron made it a lot closer in the end, but Kent State did enough as it won the first set, 25-21.

The second set was close for the first half of it as Akron was only up 12-10, then they scored five in a row to go up 17-10. The Zips won the set, 25-19, to tie the match at one.

The Flashes kicked off the third set up 13-10 and ran away with it, 25-15.

Kent State was up 12-10 in the fourth set, but the Zips were not ready to go yet as they scored seven of the next eight points to go up 17-13. Akron pulled away to win it, 25-15, to even it up.

The Flashes went up 11-4 in the fifth and closed it out 15-12 to sweep the season series.

“Our middles and right sides had a great match. That was a big part of it and we adapted to what they were doing. The sets were pretty one sided wins for both and we did just enough to win,” coach Don Gromola said. “We have to get better defensively and all-around as a team if we want to win our remaining games.”

Freshman Libero Erin Gardner led the match with 19 digs. Redshirt freshman setter Alex Haffner contributed 24 assists and sophomore setter Natalie Tagala finished second with 22.

Kent State has two games left in the regular season against Miami on Friday at 6 p.m. and Bowling Green on Saturday at 5 p.m. Both matches are at home and the MAC postseason tournament begins on Nov. 15 in Oxford, OH.

Sean Belvins is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]