Volleyball extend win streak to 5 games


Freshman Lexi Mantas spikes the ball past a Toledo defender during the Kent State vs Toledo volleyball game on Oct. 16, 2015.

Jesse Runner

Kent State’s women’s volleyball team defeated two MAC Conference opponents this weekend at home in the M.A.C. Center to extend its win streak to five straight games.

The Flashes, who improved its record to 12-8 on the season, came away victorious Friday night against the University of Toledo (3-18) before hosting Ball State University on Saturday and securing an overtime win. Head coach Don Gromala recognized how much Saturday’s win meant for his team.

“This was a huge win for us,” Gromala said. “We knew it was going to be a big match. Regardless of Ball State’s record, they have a really strong team. They did some things defensively and with their serving that stressed us out, but we made some adjustments and showed a ton of fight to not get too down and grind out a win.”

On Saturday, during Kent State’s annual “Dig for the Cure” game, Ball State started fast, winning the first set 25-13 in dominating fashion.

However, the Flashes bounced back to win the second set by the same score, 25-13. After losing set three 25-22, the Flashes, behind solid play from senior Bridget Wilhelm, emerged with a 27-25 win in the fourth set to send the match to overtime. Kent State outscored Ball State 15-9 to claim the victory.

Wilhelm tied sophomore Kelsey Bittinger for a team-high 14 kills and also added eight blocks. Junior Drew Norberg added 12 kills while sophomore Katarina Kojic recorded 51 assists.

Friday night’s matchup proved to be smoother for the Flashes as they handed Toledo its seventeenth loss of the season in straight sets. Kent State started strong, winning the first set of the match 25-14 before taking sets two and three by scores of 25-18 and 25-21.

Senior Kelly Hutchison recorded a match-high 10 kills, while Kojic added 26 assists through the air.

Bittinger swung for seven kills to go along with 14 digs, and sophomore Challen Geraghty logged a team-high 16 digs.

The Flashes have now won five straight MAC Conference games and improved their overall conference record to 6-2 after this weekend’s play.

Kent State will travel to Northern Illinois University Friday night to take on the Huskies (11-9) before heading to Michigan Saturday to play against the Western Michigan Broncos (10-13).

Jesse Runner is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].