Flashes stumble at Bulldog Brawl

Sean Blevins

Lack of rhythm and slow starts caused the Kent State volleyball team to drop two of its three games this weekend at the Bulldog Brawl in Indianapolis.

Santa Clara 3, Kent State 1

Kent State struggled to find a consistent rhythm in its first game of the tournament.

In the first set, Santa Clara (5-7) started up, 7-3, then Kent State recovered to tie it at 13. The Flashes took a 17-16 lead, but Santa Clara scored the next three points and closed it out, 25-21.

Kent State won a closely contested second set that had five lead changes, 25-22.

Santa Clara jumped out to a 7-1 advantage before the Flashes went on a 6-0 run to tie it. The Broncos then led for the rest of the third set and eventually won by two.

The final set was close for the first half as the Broncos were only up 8-6, before they ran away with it, 25-14.

Kent State 3, Cleveland State 1

The first set was back and forth until the middle as Kent State pulled away and won it, 25-20.

Cleveland State (6-9) controlled the entire second set in almost every facet as it only gave up 10 points, taking the 25-10 win.

Kent State started off the third set hot as it jumped out to a 7-2 lead quickly. The Flashes stayed composed and won it, 25-18.

“It was one of our best matches of the season,” coach Don Gromala said. “Our offense was solid the first two matches of the tournament as our serving greatly improved.”

Freshman libero Erin Gardner was a large part of the team’s success as she was named to the all-tournament team.

Neither squad gained much separation in the fourth set. The Flashes got the last two points in a marathon last set to win it, 31-29.

Butler 3, Kent State 0

Butler won the last match of the tournament in straight sets.

Butler (3-9) started off the first set up, 10-5, and didn’t look back as it dominated 25-12.

The second set was closer, but not the result the Flashes were looking for; Butler won it, 25-18.

Butler was only up, 5-4, before it scored six points in a row to give them an 11-4 lead. The Flashes struggled to defend in this match as they lost the last set, 25-16.

Kent State jumps in to conference play at 7 p.m. Thursday as it travels to Athens to take on Ohio. The Bobcats were the preseason favorite to win the Mid-American Conference. 

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