Volleyball team to host nationally ranked Ohio in MAC showdown


Kent State Senior Aleksandra Nowak sets the ball to her teammates duringthe game against Bowling Green State University on Friday Oct. 4; 2013. Kent State lost the match; 1-3. Photo by Emily Lambillotte.

Kent Hushion

The Kent State volleyball team will prepare to host No. 18 Ohio Unversity in a pivotal Mid-American Conference matchup Thursday night at the M.A.C. Center.

The Flashes (8-9, 2-2 MAC) are coming off a sweep of the Miami (Oh.) RedHawks this past weekend that wrapped up Homecoming weekend. The team’s efforts were led by senior setter Aleksandra Nowak, who tallied eight digs and a match-high 29 assists. Senior Hannah Herc anchored the defense with 13 digs last Sunday, as the Flashes defeated the RedHawks in straight sets.

A similar effort will be needed by the team to defeat the Ohio Bobcats (14-2, 4-0 MAC) Thursday. The Bobcats have won seven of the previous ten MAC Tournament championships and are looking to claim another tournament title after last season’s semi-final loss to Bowling Green.

Ohio has set the pace in the MAC so far this season, winning its first four conference games to move into first place in the MAC East Division. The Bobcats also hold notable non-conference wins against No. 8 Oregon and No. 21 Western Kentucky. Last season, the Flashes were swept by the Bobcats in both meetings, as the Bobcats went on to win the MAC regular season championship with a record of 14-2 in conference.

The Bobcats have featured a strong offensive attack this season, posting solid numbers offensively. The team has recorded a .271 hitting percentage in its 16 games, which ranks 22nd in the nation and first in the MAC in that category.

Kelly Lamberti, the 2012 MAC Player of the Year, leads the Bobcats with 192 kills this season.

The Flashes, under second-year head coach Don Gromala, will attempt to improve its record to .500 behind key players Nowak, Herc and freshman Bianca Cifaldi. Nowak has tallied 665 assists for a 9.92 assists-per-set average, ranking fifth in the conference.

Herc is seventh in the MAC in digs per set, and Cifaldi ranks 10th in kills per set with 3.08.

This will be the Flashes’ first game against a ranked opponent this season. Thursday’s match between the Flashes and the Bobcats is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Contact Kent Hushion at [email protected].