Flashes seek sixth straight win


Kent State Volleyball

Jimmy Miller

A 5-1 start, a home tournament championship and Mid-American Conference Scholar Athlete of the Week honor still cannot deter the Flashes from their mission: looking ahead.

“We try not to focus on the past at all,” junior outside hitter Bridget Wilhelm said. “We are going to use (our) momentum, but we know that every weekend is a new opportunity.”

The conference honored Kent State senior outside hitter Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola with Scholar Athlete of the Week honors on Wednesday, according to Kent State Sports.com. Her dominance at the net, combined with the Flashes’ 3-0 record at the Hampton Inn Golden Flashes Volleyball Classic, propelled her to the accolade.

“We’re really excited about the honors, really well deserved after the weekend she had,” coach Don Gromala said. “I think just overall, she limited her errors and played consistently the whole weekend.”

Aderemi-Ibitola also finished with Most Valuable Player honors at the tournament and attained Mid-American Conference East Offensive Player of the Week.

“I’ve been feeling good,” Aderemi-Ibitola said after the Friday evening match. “I think a lot of the hitters, including myself, have been working on being more aggressive and swinging really hard.”

The Flashes will travel to West Virginia University and open Friday afternoon with the hosts of the Mountaineer Invitational. While the Mountaineers draw comparisons to teams the Flashes have played already this season, adjustments will still need to be made.

“West Virginia will be a grueling match no matter how long it goes,” Gromala said. “We have to be as physical as we can be every play.”

Kent State will turn around and play Saint Francis University at 4:30 p.m. Friday following its noon bout with West Virginia. The team will close its weekend Saturday afternoon with a 2 p.m. contest against University of Montana.

“We’re going to keep our energy up and we’re going to keep working as a team as we’ve been doing,” freshman libero Challen Geraghty said. “It’s going to be really hard this weekend.”

Gromala said the Flashes will also need to adjust to fatigue and a change of schedule, as this weekend puts Kent State against its first back-to-back matches.

“How you respond to that back-to-back…is going to be a big test for us,” Gromala said. “It’s good for us to have that because in MAC season we have a couple matches that are really early on Saturday. Hopefully, we can keep progressing and getting better.”

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].