Volleyball loses to Miami, wins against Bowling Green

Sophomore Kelsey Bittinger digs the ball agianst Miami University on Friday Sept. 25, 2015.

Jesse Runner

The Kent State women’s volleyball team finished 1-1 this past weekend after playing two games at the M.A.C. Center to open conference play.

The first game, which took place Friday night against the University of Miami, ended in a loss for the Flashes in five sets.

However, on Saturday, Kent defeated Bowling Green State University in four sets. Head coach Don Gromala realized both Miami and Bowling Green are tough opponents and felt good about his team’s performance.

“Obviously, Miami’s a great team and so is BG,” said Gromala in a post-game interview. “They both have very different style of play but they’re very good at what they do. To be able to play two different styles against a defense, or (two) game plans, is good for us moving forward.”

Kent State vs. Miami:

Kent played MAC Conference opponent Miami Friday night in a hard fought game that ended in five sets.

The Flashes started fast, winning the first set 25-16. However, Miami won the next two sets by scores of 25-22 and 25-23, placing Kent down 2-1 with one set remaining. But, behind the play of sophomore Kelsey Bittinger and senior Kelly Hutchison, the Flashes managed to win the fourth set 25-23 to force overtime. The fifth set, which is played to 15 points, saw Miami finish victorious by a score of 15-9, ending the game and dropping Kent to 6-7 on the year.

Bittinger led the Flashes with 22 kills and also added 12 digs in the loss to Miami. Hutchison, who played opposite of Bittinger, finished the game with 17 kills and 16 digs.

Junior Katarina Kojic recorded a game-high 51 assists and added four aces.

Kent vs. Bowling Green:

Kent managed to finish conference play this past weekend with a win against Bowling Green in four sets. For the ninth time in 14 games (.642), the Golden Flashes won the first set of the game (25-18). Bowling Green fought back to take the second set by a score of 25-23, but Kent ended the game after winning the next two sets by scores of 25-19 and 25-21. After Saturday’s game, the Flashes managed to bring their record back to .500 at 7-7.

Bittinger recorded a game-high 16 kills and 13 digs while Hutchinson added 14 kills and 2 blocks.

For the second time in two nights, Kojic led both teams in assists with 45 and also finished with a team-high 17 digs.

“It was a new day for us,” Kojic said. “We did a really good job of following our game plan and executing everything our coach said to us.”

The Flashes next game will take place on Thursday at the M.A.C. Center against Ohio University.

“Ohio’s a good team,” said Hutchison after Saturday’s game. “We’ve been out to get them since a couple years ago when we beat them when they were ranked. It’s going to be fun.”

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