Kent State falls to Ball State in three-setter


Defensive specialist Kristen Barr dives to save the ball. Photo by Sam Verbulecz.

Alexis Pfeifer

Kent State lost to Ball State Saturday, following Friday’s loss. Size played a factor in determining the winner of the match.

The Flashes lost in three short sets to Ball State. This is its third straight loss. It lost with 25 team kills and 22 team errors. Junior middle back Kathy Krupa and freshman outside hitter Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola led the team with seven kills.

“Ball State is the best team in the West,” said Kent State coach Glen Conley in an interview Friday. “They’re huge, absolutely huge, and we’re small. We’ve got matchup problems with them.”

Kent State prepared for its Homecoming weekend but suffered devastating losses in both matches this weekend.

“We’re ?ghting for (competition) in practice,” said senior outside hitter Maigan Larsen. “Even against teams we think are good, if we think they’re bad, we’re not coming out right now and competing.”

The amount of Kent State errors affected how the team matched up.

“We just made a million mistakes, and we could have cut down on those,” said Conley after the loss to Ball State. “When you can’t score, you can’t handle errors. We had too many errors for what we were scoring.”

Kent State faced many injuries this season. This signi?cant amount of injuries forced many adjustments to the lineup.

“We’ve got matchup problems because we’re so small on the wings,” Conley said. “That comes down to injuries. We have to play out of position.”

Injuries have taken a few players out of commission for matches at a time. This reality forces a younger team to take the court.

“This is one of the stronger conferences in the country in volleyball,” Conley said.

“You don’t get any breaks. There are no weak teams we’re going to run up against in our conferences. When you’re overmatched, you make mistakes.”

Kent State faced a team its direct opposite. Ball State entered the game with a winning 7-1 conference record and 18-3 overall record. The Flashes sought to end its losing streak but came up short.

“We almost have to play perfect volleyball in order to compete, especially against Ball State,” Conley said. “We could make maybe two mistakes or three mistakes a set and still compete. We’re making nine and 10 mistakes a set. When you get a team that’s capable of scoring 23 points and you make nine errors, you get blown out.”

Kent State came to compete in the ?rst set then fell apart when Ball State took control. The team fell quickly, losing 25-15, 25-8 and 25-15.

“We de?nitely knew they were going to be a good team coming in,” Krupa said.

“I know we weren?t scared. We were ready to play. Once they started putting the pressure on us, we broke a little bit. Then, we all started thinking too hard, and we all really, really wanted it. We got a little timid.”

Kent State also fell to Toledo in a three-setter in its match Friday Oct. 14. Aderemi-Ibitola led the match with eight kills. The team hit 27 kills with 19 errors.

Toledo took the ?rst set 25-12. The team almost forced a fourth set but fell in the ?nal points of the second set, losing 23-25. Toledo swept the match, winning the third set 25-16. This match increased Kent State?s losing streak.

“We just need to get everyone pumped up more because it?s always dead out there,” said freshman defensive specialist Bridget Grdina.

The Flashes will travel to Northern Illinois Friday, Oct. 21 and Western Michigan Saturday, Oct. 22. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Contact Alexis Pfeifer at [email protected].