Volleyball falls in first round of MAC tourney

Tom Crilley

The Kent State volleyball team’s season came to an end Tuesday night with a 3-1 loss to Toledo in the first round of the Mid-American Conference tournament.

A quick start by the Rockets in the first set highlighted by six kills was too much for the Flashes to overcome. The teams traded points at first, but the Rockets pulled out to a 12-5 edge.

A Toledo attack error and kills by sophomore middle blocker Meredith Paskert, sophomore middle blocker Kathy Krupa and freshman setter Aleksandra Nowak brought the Flashes to within four points at 18-14.

Kent State scored six of the next 10 points to tighten the gap at 22-20, but the comeback stalled with a service error by outside hitter Jessica Ronyak and a Rockets’ kill. Toledo claimed the first set, 25-22.

Looking to rebound from the first game, the Flashes began the second set with a 3-1 advantage. The Rockets, however, worked back into the game. The teams shared the lead six times throughout the first part of the set, but the Rockets went ahead for good at 11-10.

From there, Toledo used a strong attack game cruised to a 25-16 victory.

The Flashes were not able to keep up with the Rockets’ hitting game in the second set, which was the deciding factor. The Rockets posted 18 kills with a .416 hitting percentage. The Flashes scored just nine kills with a .280 hitting percentage.

The Flashes came out strong in the third set and never trailed at any point. They out-blocked and outhit the Rockets. The Flashes’ attack game came to life with 19 kills and a .395 hitting percentage. The Rockets had 10 kills against five errors and a .147 hitting percentage.

The Flashes have statistically been one of the better blocking teams in the country, and that didn’t change last night. Through the first three sets, they out-blocked the Rockets 9-0.

Kent State kept the fourth and final set close, even leading the middle part of the game, but Toledo turned it on at the end. The Flashes held a 13-8 advantage before giving up a nine-point run. Down four points, the Flashes were never able to reclaim the lead, losing 25-21.

The Flashes ended the match with their worst hitting game of the night. The team had seven kills, six attack errors and a .023 hitting percentage.

Middle blocker Liva Brivule and Paskert led the team with 11 kills apiece. In her last start as a Golden Flash, libero Kristen Barr had 24 digs and two service aces.

The team could not be reached for comment after the match.

Contact Tom Crilley at [email protected].