Volleyball snaps seven-game losing streat at Buffalo

Tom Crilley

The Kent State volleyball team ended a seven-game losing streak with a four-set win against Buffalo Saturday night.

The Flashes (11-18, 4-10 Mid-American Conference) used a dynamic hitting game to rebound from a tough five-set loss to Akron on Friday. The team ended the streak by showcasing five players with at least seven kills.

Having so many players involved in the offense loosened up the Bulls (16-14, 4-10 MAC) and made it difficult for them to key in on any certain player.

The Flashes’ attack offense had been questionable the past few weeks, but Kent State coach Glen Conley said he felt like his team made some big gains in that area.

“We out-hit Akron and Buffalo this weekend,” he said. “We changed the offense a little bit over this week and it definitely helped us. We’ve been looking at trying to get more people involved that haven’t been involved in the past and spreading the wealth.

“Normally, We’ve been relying heavily on (Liva Brivule) and on Meredith Paskert. Today it was across the board. We got a lot of kills out of Celia Sabo. Maigan Larsen and Kathy Krupa were big for us as well. We spread the offense out a little bit to become more diversified.”

Sophomore middle blocker Kathy Krupa agreed that a diversified offense helped keep the Bulls guessing.

“When teams watch us play, they notice Liva and Meredith are our best hitters and they get most of the sets, so a lot of times they put two people on them,” she said. “If we have everyone hitting productively they can’t shut down one person. They just can’t.”

The Bulls failed to match the Flashes’ aggressive attack game during the first set, as they were never really in contention. The Flashes jumped out to a quick 12-5 lead and let their dominant hitting game carry them from there. The Bulls hit just .083 to the Flashes’ .385.

The score was tied 12 times in the second set. The Flashes again posted a better hitting percentage, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Bulls, as they outlasted the Flashes, 25-23.

Kent State came out sluggish in the third, beginning the set with a 12-6 disadvantage. Three kills, two service aces and a handful of Buffalo errors tied the score at 14. The Flashes scored 11 of the next 17 points to win the set, 25-20.

The Flashes led nearly all of the fourth set and sealed it with a kill from sophomore middle blocker Meredith Paskert to win, 25-21.

Junior outside hitter Maigan Larsen topped the team in scoring and had a double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs.

Krupa added six kills for the Flashes. She said the Flashes want to play aggressively and rattling their opponents is a part of that.

“I think we’re trying to go all out,” she said. “We play the best when we’re having fun. We’re just trying to get in their heads. When we get a kill, even if it’s not the hardest hit we just go crazy and celebrate and hope for another one.”

Krupa also said playing a weekend of good volleyball was a huge confidence booster for the team.

“We obviously had a seven-game losing streak,” she said. “And we didn’t want to end the season losing and losing and losing. We have next week and then we have the conference tournament and we know we can beat anyone. We’re never giving up.”