Volleyball seeks first road victory in MAC

Jimmy Miller

Not only do the reigning Mid-American Conference East division offensive and defensive players of the week play for Kent State — they play mere inches from each other on the court.

Junior middle blocker Bridget Wilhelm earned offensive honors this week after her 23-kill weekend, and senior middle blocker Liz Reikow shored up a stout Kent State defense with 13 blocks.

“We’re just executing the ball and just taking care of what our jobs are,” Reikow said. “Getting our hands over the net is important.”

The Flashes hit the road Friday evening to take on in-state rival, Bowling Green State University, and then travel to Oxford to take on Miami University Saturday.

“We’re definitely going to need middle offense,” coach Don Gromala said. “Looking at our opponents, they’re some pretty physical teams. It’s going to be important how well we block and if our middles can score points.”

Kent State is coming off a dominant weekend in the M.A.C. Center. A four-set victory over the University of Akron and sweep over the University at Buffalo reestablished the Flashes as top challengers for conference contention.

“We focused on the other team and what they do during the matches,” junior defensive specialist Sarah Mills said. “We executed our game plan pretty well.”

The Flashes look to to grab their first road conference victory, as they dropped matches to Ohio University and Eastern Michigan during the first weekend of conference play. Kent State posted a 2-10 record away from the M.A.C. Center in 2013 but finished 7-4 at home.

Gromala said he doesn’t know what makes road matches different for his team but believes working around a different schedule for road matches might be related to the problem.

“Just your daily routine of being in a hotel, then eating food, then you’re in a hotel studying, then you’re in the gym,” Gromala said. “It’s kind of monotonous. It’s kind of repetitive.”

The Falcons and Redhawks are two young teams still looking for identity, Gromala said. The Falcons post a 3-13 record and are 0-5 at home, while the Redhawks are 9-10 on the season.

“Making those points long is going to be big for us,” Gromala said. “If we’re not blocking, as long as we’re not digging balls up I think we’re going to be in a good situation.”

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].