Kent State volleyball shares Golden Flashes Classic title


Junior Katarina Kojic sets junior Drew Norberg up for a hit against Indiana State During the Golden Flashes Classic on Friday Sept. 4, 2015.

Jesse Runner

The Golden Flashes Classic tournament, held in the M.A.C. Center, saw Kent State lose its first game to Indiana State before winning its next two games against the University of Albany and Oakland University. The Flashes finished with a record of 2-1.a 10-9 lead at one point.

“We’re definitely happy,” said coach Don Gromala in a post-game interview. “Obviously everyone wants to come away going 3-0 and winning them all, but I think we learned a lot from the first match of the weekend.”

The Flashes matchup against Indiana State went into overtime. After winning the first set (27-25), Indiana State won the second set (25- 21) and third set (25-17), but the Flashes forced the game into overtime by winning the fourth set (25-17.) However, the Flashes could not pull off the comeback, losing 15-10 despite holding a 10-9 lead at one point.

On Saturday, Kent State bounced back, and won an afternoon thriller against Albany. The Flashes once again took the first set (25-16) but lost a second set (34-32) that required 64 total points scored. The third set, which once again went over the 25-point threshold, saw Kent emerge the victor by a score of 27-25. Albany claimed the fourth set 25-15, and for the second time in two days Kent headed for overtime. This time, the result would be different.

After holding a comfortable 13-9 lead with just two points to go until victory, Kent State allowed a run of 6-1, leaving the team down 14-15 with Albany serving. The Flash- es successfully defended, scored and tied the game up at 15-15 all. Kent scored the next two points, winning the game and evening its record at 1-1.

Kent State played its second game of the day Saturday night and improved their record of 2-1 after a win against Oakland. For the first time this tournament, the Flashes lost the first set of the match by a score of (25-17). However, the Flashes bounced back to win the next three sets by a combined score of 81-66.

Kent State Senior Kelly Hutchison led the Flashes in kills (69) throughout the tournament and averaged 4.93 kills per set. Hutchison received the MVP award, given to the best player in the Golden Flash Classic.

“I’m really excited about that,” said Hutchinson. “It was a team effort and a great job by our setters getting us good 1-on-1 opportunities.”

Sophomore Challen Geraghty recorded 89 total digs over the two-day stretch and averaged 29.6 digs-per-game. Geraghty was awarded top libero, given to the best defen- sive-specialist in the tournament. Junior Kelsey Bittinger also received recognition for her solid play after being named to the all-tournament team.

Coach Gromala acknowledged the team’s identity is becoming clearer after the games played against Indiana State, Albany and Oakland.

“We aren’t a six-foot-two team who’s going to go up and hit it over you,” said Gro- mala. “We’re going to grind out long points by keeping it in play, making good choices and playing really good defense.”

With the Flashes taking two of three games this weekend, Gromala realized there’s time to celebrate. They also noted the Flashes have to get back to work with games against Georgetown and Wisconsin coming up Thursday Sept. 10 and Friday Sept. 11, in Madison, Wis.

“We’re going to enjoy it for about a day and then get back to business,” said Groma- la. “We’ve got a short week of practice to get us ready for Georgetown and Wisconsin.” 

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