Volleyball team drops two matches at home

Tim Dorst

The Kent State volleyball team got within a game of first place in the Mid-American Conference East Division but suffered a setback at the hands of two conference rivals.

The Flashes (10-11, 4-4 MAC) lost to MAC West Division leader Ball State in four sets (21-25, 25-19, 25-27, 10-25) Friday, then fell again in four sets (17-25 27-25, 23-25, 18-25) to Toledo Saturday night at the M.A.C. Center.

The team led in the second and third sets Friday against the Ball State Cardinals and held on to its lead in the second, but the Cardinals outscored the Flashes 7-1 at the end of the third to secure a 2-point win for the set.

The Flashes could not recover in the fourth set as Ball State used its momentum to decisively defeat Kent State in the final set.

“We had it rolling and they caught us off guard a little bit,” head coach Don Gromala said. “They imposed themselves on us, which is something we’ve been doing to other teams the past couple of weeks. That just carried over to set four.”

Senior setter Aleksandra Nowak reached a milestone against the Cardinals, becoming the fourth player in team history to record 3,000 assists for a career. Nowak finished with 38 assists and seven digs against Ball State.

The Flashes played with much of the same struggles Saturday against the Toledo Rockets, losing the third set by two points and being unable to recover in the fourth set.

“Our team needs to figure out on the court what’s happening in the moments that aren’t going so hot,” Gromala said.

Kent State performed better on defense recording 67 total digs, led by senior Hannah Herc with a game-high 25 digs. The Flashes recorded 53 kills but struggled offensively late in the match and committed a total of 33 errors.

Sophomore middle blocker Bridget Wilhelm led the way with 13 kills, while Nowak added to her career assist total with 48 assists against Toledo.

The Flashes will look to turn things around on the road next weekend. Kent State will compete against Western Michigan at 7 p.m. Friday and Northern Illinois at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Tim Dorst is the sports editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]