Kent State volleyball struggles in road loss

Jimmy Miller

Box Score

For the second straight week, the Flashes came out of a road trip empty-handed, as Eastern Michigan swept Kent State Saturday.

The loss came just two days after Ohio University defeated the Flashes (8-7, 0-2) in their conference opener. Head coach Don Gromala said there may be ground to make up in the Mid-American Conference, but the pressure isn’t on just yet.

“There’s a lot of season left,” Gromala said. “We’re just focused on what we’re going to have to do here in the next few days to get better.”

The Flashes lost to Eastern Michigan (9-6, 1-1) in deflating fashion, as they came out strong in the first set but dropped the next two sets by a combined 17 points.

“I don’t know if there’s something wrong with our confidence or our resolve…we’ll have to figure that out,” Gromala said.

The Eagles jumped out early on the Flashes, engaging in a back-and-forth battle that totaled four lead changes; however, a late Kent State ball handling error from freshman setter Brittney Jakscht ended the set, 27-25.

The results of the second set diminished the promise of a competitive match, as the Eagles never allowed Kent State to find its rhythm. The beginning of the set hinted at a similar, close set, but Gromala said the Flashes offense didn’t distribute the ball well enough to match Eastern Michigan’s offense.

“We didn’t pass well, and when we passed well, we didn’t score enough” Gromala said. “When all they have to do is defend one hitter over and over again, it gets pretty simple.”

Ultimately, the Flashes dropped the set, 25-16.

Kent State came out of the break between sets ready to swing, as they took an early 10-3 lead. The Eagles kept putting pressure on the Flashes defense, however, and would storm back for a 25-17 victory.

“We didn’t really execute coming out with our game plan,” Gromala said. “We didn’t produce in crunch time once again, but the big thing was we needed to shut out a couple hitters, and we didn’t do that whatsoever.”

Freshman outside hitter Kelsey Bittinger led the offense with 12 kills, while freshman libero Challen Geraghty and junior defensive specialist Sarah Mills tallied 17 digs each.

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].