Bobcats outmatch Kent State volleyball with four-set win


Senior middle blocker Liz Reikow jumps for return against The University of New Hampshire on September 6, 2014. The Flashes won the game 3-1.

Jimmy Miller

Box Score

A trip to Athens didn’t bode well for Kent State volleyball Thursday, as the Flashes fell to Ohio University in four sets.

“I think we played solid,” head coach Don Gromala said. “The things we talked about working on we did a really good job of, but we didn’t make adjustments to slow them down when they started making their runs.”

Game notes:

Prior to their second-set win Thursday night, Kent State struggled to score in Athens. Their last set victory at Ohio University came in 2011, when the Flashes dropped a five-set thriller.

The referees carded Gilleland after the Flashes tied the third set, 19-19. Gilleland was arguing a double-hit call.

Kent State freshman setter Brittney Jakscht paced the offense with 41 assists and five digs.

Geraghty led the team defense with 23 digs, and Koller chipped in 11.

Despite solid efforts from senior outside hitter Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola and senior middle blocker Liz Reikow, the Flashes (8-6) dropped their first conference match of the season. The Bobcats (8-4), an offensively dominant team at the net, bullied the Kent State block all night.

“All in all, I think we made a lot of errors, and our blocking was our big problem,” Aderemi-Ibitola said. “Coming from previous matches where we had 10 or 12 (blocks)…it makes it difficult to win.”

The Flashes started off slow in the first set, failing to match Ohio’s offensive power. At one point, the team trailed in the set, 18-9, and would eventually falter, 25-11.

While Gromala said the team made no specific adjustments in the second, Kent State came out and played one of its best sets of the season. The Flashes pounced on the Bobcat defense, going on an early 12-2 run; however, Ohio University planted their foot and began mounting a comeback.

Behind a solid defensive effort from senior defensive specialist Kaylee Koller and freshman libero Challen Geraghty, the Flashes thwarted a Bobcat offense regaining momentum, winning the second set 25-18.

“I think the big change in the second set was our serving,” Gromala said. “We served some short serves and got them out of their rhythm.”

Both teams came out swinging in the third and fourth set, as less than seven points decided the two sets. Unfortunately for the Flashes, the Bobcats sealed the win late in each set. Led by senior outside hitter Kelly Lamberti, the reigning MAC East Offensive Player of the Week, the Bobcats took the wins, 25-21 and 25-22.

Lamberti tied freshman outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek with 13 kills in the match, while junior setter Abby Gilleland registered 11 of her own. Gilleland also finished with 40 assists and 15 digs.

“Their outsides are good and they stayed steady, and I think that was the difference,” Gromala said. “They had more of a kill presence than we did. They’ve got a middle and two…outsides hitting and their back row attack was like their third option. It’s something we’ve got to go back to film to look at.”

Kent State will try to rebound on the road Saturday in their match with Eastern Michigan. Aderemi-Ibitola said the team would practice Friday before the match, another conference opponent.

“We just have to come in with the mentality that we’re going to work hard,” Aderemi-Ibitola said. “This game’s over and we have got to work hard and focus on the next (match).”

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].