Volleyball beats Ohio, Central Michigan for first conference wins

Kent State senior Challen Geraghty cheers with teammates after scoring against Akron Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. The Flashes fell to Akron, 3-1.

Henry Palattella

Coming into their two conference games this weekend, the Kent State volleyball team was 0-4 in the conference and riding a three-game losing streak overall.

The Flashes (4-13, 2-4 Mid-American Conference) flipped that script in the aforementioned games, however, as they secured wins against both Ohio and Central Michigan — wins that just might turn their season around.

The Flashes’ first win was a 3-2 (25-18, 25-12, 17-25, 27-29, 12-15) victory over Ohio (9-11, 3-3 MAC) on Thursday at the M.A.C. Center.

The victory over the Bobcats was an intense battle, as the final three sets featured 26 ties and 10 lead changes. 

Senior Kelsey Bittinger once again led the charge offensively for Kent State, finishing with 15 kills and 14 digs. Bittinger also had four kills in the fifth set. 

Freshman Natalie Tagala impressed as well, recording her team-leading seventh double-double with 48 assists and 17 digs. 

Senior Challen Geraghty chipped in with a team-leading 25 digs, while senior Heather Younkin and sophomore Myla King shared the team lead in blocks with three. Younkin also had 14 kills, a season high.

The Flashes followed this up with their best victory of the season so far when they swept Central Michigan (10-8, 2-4 MAC) by a score of 3-0 (27-25, 25-15, 25-16) on Saturday inside McGuirk Arena.

The Flashes recorded a .330 (47 kills, 11 errors) hitting percentage in the victory, their highest mark of the season.  

Bittinger once again made her mark on the outcome with a .469 hitting percentage, including 16 kills and only one error. Senior Amber Gerdeman had a solid game as well, recording five kills and a team-high four blocks. 

Tagala also impacted the game in more ways than one with 37 assists, eight digs and two kills. Geraghty had 20 digs, which moved her into eighth all-time in Mid-American Conference history. 

The Flashes will be back in action Friday when they welcome Ball State to the M.A.C. Center for the Dig Pink match. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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