Volleyball keeps spirits high despite losses this season

Kent+State+senior+Kelsey+Bittinger+hits+the+ball+while+senior+Challen+Geraghty+watches+during+the+Homecoming+match+Saturday%2C+Oct.+14%2C+2017.

Kent State senior Kelsey Bittinger hits the ball while senior Challen Geraghty watches during the Homecoming match Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017.

Taylor Sforzo

The Kent State volleyball team has gone through a challenging season so far, just completing the fourth weekend of conference play last weekend with a 2-7 Mid-American Conference record and 4-16 overall.

However, for the Flashes, being part of a team is more than just winning games. The bond the team shares on and off the court is just as important as winning  games. The Flashes strive to maintain their positivity even through losses.

“It’s definitely a team sport, but you can only do your part to help the team,” senior Challen Geraghty said. “I like to focus on myself to make myself better for the team, but it’s definitely a team game so it takes more than that. Even if I’m having the best game of my life, we still could not be doing that well.”

Geraghty has passed two milestones during losses. She passed 2,000 digs during a match in the Golden Flashes Classic, and she took the number one spot in digs in Kent State history against Miami.

The girls begin bonding even before the season begins. The team, along with coaches, visited a fire station in Tallmadge, Ohio, in August and participated in a few mock training exercises to aid their teamwork and communication skills.

“It was something they had never done before,” coach Don Gromala said. “One person tripped while carrying a hose, but they didn’t give up. They kept going with their teammates behind them cheering them on.”

The girls were split into groups by their position and competed against each other in relay races and other activities, with coaches participating too. Gromala said he likes to see the team do things outside of its comfort zone.

“Those activities are very rewarding for us because they are working together to achieve something and that’s what we’re trying to do during our season,” Gromala said. “I think it’s good to see the girls interacting, whether it’s working for Habitat for Humanity or going over to a retirement home to hang out with the residents.”

As the season goes on, the girls learn more about each other both in and out of practice.

“During practice and during those tough matches, you definitely learn more about each other,” senior Kelsey Bittinger said. “Outside of practice is maybe even more important. That’s when you get those personal connections, those outside of volleyball and who you are as a person and it’s awesome.”

Geraghty said the team remains connected regardless of their record.

“We’re a really close team,” she said. “I think we just need to continue that bond regardless, win or lose.”

The Flashes are ready to take on the last eight matches they have in the regular season. Though Geraghty said she’s hoping for more wins, the growth of the team is most important.

“I just hope that we grow as a team and play how we know how,” Geraghty said. “Even if we never win another game, I just hope that we play to our capability because we are a lot better than this and I just want us to show that to other people.”

Taylor Sforzo is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected]