Flashes open season with two wins at North Texas Invitational


Outside Hitter, Kelsey Bittinger, Senior, spikes the ball against Bowling Green State University on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. The Flashes lost the match 3-1.

Ian Kreider

The Kent State volleyball team started its season by winning its first two games of the weekend to begin the season 2-1, the program’s best start since 2007.

The Flashes swept Grambling State in straight sets to open the tournament. Freshman Kathryn Ellison led the way with 11 kills and two aces, while the Flashes as a whole combined for eight aces and 38 kills en route to 25-18, 25-13 and 25-19 sweep.

Later that day, the Flashes had a similar outcome as they swept Nicholls 25-16, 25-19 and 25-18. Senior Sam Jones facilitated well in the win, finishing with 12 of the team’s 24 assists.

Kent State was able to pull away due to its persistent defense and tactical serving. it finished the match with eight blocks and 10 aces.

“I think we came out and handled that situation really well yesterday,” coach Don Gromala said of the team’s effort on Friday. “We had a couple of really strong matches with some strong serving, good ball control, good offense and blocking.”

The team was unable to pull off the weekend sweep as they fell to North Texas in straight sets.

“Their service pressure really kind of put us on our heels a little bit,” Gromala said. “We couldn’t really run the offense we were trying to run to counteract their physicality. We were hoping to get our middles more involved, but it was kind of hard to do with how tough they were serving.”

The team struggled on offense, finishing with only 23 kills. They were outscored, 75-48, over three sets.

“Overall, it was a good weekend; we got a lot of real game experience for the younger players on our team,” Gromala said. “(North Texas) would be a top team in the Mid-American Conference. It’s good for us to face someone like that early in the year.”

Gromala is focused on constant improvement and growth from game to game.

“We have plenty of time to reflect before and watch some film and see which other things we can improve on outside of offensive stuff,” Gromala said.

Kent State (2-1) will play its home opener at 7 p.m. Tuesday inside the M.A.C. Center.

“A lot of stuff depends on the health of one of our setters if she will be able to return or not, and if we will be moving forward with the current lineup or go back to what we were working on a week ago,” Gromala said of the team’s Tuesday home opener.

Ian Kreider is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]