Kent State volleyball opens with two game sweep of CMU

The Kent State volleyball team kicked off its spring 2021 season with a pair of conference wins on the road at Central Michigan University. 

Match one: Kent State 3, Central Michigan 0

Kent State started off their season strong on Thursday with a 3-set sweep of West Division favorite Central Michigan. 

The first set saw several lead changes as both teams raced out to 16 points. The Flashes scored seven of the next eight points in the set to take a 22-17 lead. KSU won the set 25-21. 

The second set started out tied 3-3, then the Flashes scored six in a row to take a 9-3 lead. KSU expanded its lead to 17-5 but the Chippewas closed in to make the set tight. The deficit proved to be too much as Kent State won the set 25-17. 

KSU jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the third set. CMU battled back and ended up cutting the lead to two, as they trailed 15-13. Then the Flashes scored seven in a row to push the lead to nine, 22-13. They won the set 25-15, giving them the win in their first game of the season. 

Sophomore Taylor Heberle tied her career-high of 20 kills with an efficient .438 hitting percentage. She led the team with 21 points, 9.5 more than anyone else. 

Junior Melissa Kolurbasi contributed 10 kills and sophomore Savannah Matthews had nine. Redshirt junior Alex Haffner added 38 assists and 10 digs. 

Match two: Kent State 3, Central Michigan 1

The Flashes ended up winning the second matchup three sets to one, but the Chippewas did not make it easy in the second game today. 

KSU came out strong and they were up 7-4 before Central Michigan found some answers to tie the first set up at eight. CMU was up 14-13, then scored four in a row to put them up 18-13. The Flashes came back and tied it up at 22, but ultimately the Chippewas pulled away to win the set 26-24. 

The second set was all Kent State. The Flashes went up 15-10 and never looked back, as they won the set 25-15. 

In a back-and-forth third set with numerous lead changes, it was Kent State that edged Central Michigan 25-23. 

In the fourth set, Central Michigan came out hot and jumped to an 11-9 lead. Midway through the set, it was knotted at 15. Kent State scored the next three points and went up 18-15. CMU tied it at 20. KSU pulled away late in the fourth set as they won it 25-22, and secured their second win in as many games. 

Matthews led the team with 22 kills and 22 points. 

Junior Erin Gardner led the squad with 23 digs. Haffner added 58 assists.  

The Flashes will travel to Buffalo next week for a two-game series on Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 5 at 2 p.m.

Sean Blevins is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]