Bittinger, Geraghty garner MAC East Player of the Week honors

Nick Buzzelli

Juniors Kelsey Bittinger and Challen Geraghty aren’t strangers to Mid-American Conference accolades.

Last season, both members of the Kent State volleyball team were named First Team All-MAC for their performances on the court. They were also chosen as Academic All-MAC performers.

Despite the fact that the Flashes are only three matches into the 2016 season, they have another conference honor to add to their resumes.

On Tuesday, the league named Bittinger and Geraghty offensive and defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for their play in the Holiday Inn Orlando East/UCF Invitational over the weekend.

Bittinger, an outside hitter, led Kent State offensively against Stetson University, the University of Central Florida and Stony Brook University, tallying 51 points and 45 kills while being selected to the all-tournament team.

Bittinger’s best performance came in the season’s opening match, totaling 16 kills, nine digs and three aces with a .333 hitting percentage in a 3-1 win over the Hatters.

Geraghty, the MAC’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, moved into fourth place on the program’s career digs list, racking up a total of 69 in the three matches, while helping Kent State’s defense limit opponents to a .172 hitting

percentage.

Geraghty held Kia Bright and Jale Hervey, UCF’s preseason All-American Athletic Conference’s outside hitters, to nearly two fewer kills per set than the duo had in 2015.

Geraghty’s 27 flawless serve receptions against Central Florida helped the Flashes rally to force a fourth set.

“Challen served great. She’s always been a great server. But in this match, in particular, she did a really great job of locating her serve and mixing it up a little bit,” head coach Don Gromala said after his team’s 3-1 loss to the Knights. “She scored some points and stressed them out, which gave us some energy and some flow. She kind of took over in the back row and started taking some more balls.”

Kent State plays Boise State University and Wright State University Friday. The Flashes will look for their first win over a Power-5 program since 2010, when they host Tennessee the following evening in the M.A.C. Center as part of the Golden Flashes Classic.

Nick Buzzelli is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater, contact him at [email protected]