Flashes open M.A.C. Center play with two wins

Jimmy Miller

Box Score — University of Evansville

Box Score — Morehead State

Energy was the name of the game Friday at the M.A.C. Center, as Kent State plowed through the University of Evansville and Morehead State University.

“I think we had high energy, but it wasn’t excessive,” head coach Don Gromala said. “I think in the past we’ve been inconsistent because emotionally, we’re either really up or really low. That level of focus and discipline emotionally has helped.”

In their first taste of hometown play this season, the Flashes came out swinging early and often, outscoring their opponents, 176-143. A morning win over Evansville in four sets and a sweep of Morehead State propelled the Flashes to a 4-1 record, the best start the team has attained in Gromala’s three-year tenure.

“We’re just doing a really good job just taking care of all the little things,” Gromala said. “We’re playing pretty steady overall.”

Gromala, who has had reservations about his offense prior to this weekend, saw some definite improvement. Senior outside hitter Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola paved the way with 21 kills against Evansville and nine against Morehead State.

“I was feeling good,” Aderemi-Ibitola said. “It’s not just me, it’s everyone in the front row. (They’ve) been helping out, and we all work as a team. It’s all of us, including myself.”

Freshman defensive specialist Challen Geraghty and the Flashes put together a solid defensive effort. Geraghty finished with 11 digs in the morning and seven digs in the evening.

Serving still proved to be an issue for the Flashes. Despite effective control in its sets, the team totaled 24 service errors on the day.

Gromala said he is already looking forward to next practice.

“We’re going to make them serve a ton of balls on Monday — that’s what we’re going to do,” Gromala said.

The Flashes return to the court Saturday night to take on the University of New Hampshire. The Wildcats took a first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament last season, finishing with a 20-13 record.

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].