Record-breaking crowd pushes Flashes past Youngstown State

Fans cheer during Kent State’s matchup against Youngstown State on Aug. 28, 2018. The Flashes won 3-1.

Ian Kreider


That’s the record-breaking number of students who came out to support the Kent State volleyball team in its home opener.

The Flashes (3-1) combined for 90 digs over four sets to help push them over Youngstown State, 3-1 (22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-23).

Freshmen outside hitter Kathryn Ellison and middle blocker Danie Tyson thought the crowd played a role in the win.

“Having a great crowd here helped,” they both said, almost simultaneously.

“K-S-U,” the student section chanted each time the Flashes hit the ball on the 24th point of the fourth set.

After a late rally by Youngstown State (3-1) cut the Kent State lead from three to a single point, the Flashes were able to slam the door closed on a kill by senior Amy Kober to take down the Penguins (3-1).

The team had 15 blocks, which is their third most in a game since 2012. That was due in large part to Tyson, who finished the game with eight blocks.

“Everyone played really well, the middles stepped up tonight,” Ellison said, flashing a smile at Tyson.

The two freshmen had plenty to smile about as they helped the Flashes secure their third win of the season and hand the Penguins their first loss. The duo combined for 22 digs, 11 blocks and 24 kills.

“Whenever the team does great, it forces us to be great too,” Tyson said.

Although the team is young, they showed resilience early on.

During the third and fourth sets, the team was behind, 18-14 and 17-12, but pressure provided on serves by Ellison and fellow freshman Erin Gardner allowed the Flashes to claw their way back and take both.

“We’ve really worked on being aggressive and forcing our opponents to be out of system so we can set up our block much easier and be more aggressive and counter attack,” Tyson said.

Despite the tenacious defensive performance, the Flashes still had some choppy segments offensively, something coach Don Gromala believes will be alleviated with time.

“A good defensive performance, but we still have to clean some things up offensively,” Gromala said. “At the start of that match, we had three players that haven’t had that much experience in the back row with services receive at this level just yet. I think overall that part got better. Our passing got a little bit better which opened up some things for the rest of our hitters.”

The team will look to make it two in a row as they play Purdue Fort Wayne (1-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center as part of the Golden Flashes Classic.

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