Volleyball team loses in five to Akron

Tom Crilley

After a hard-fought win against Buffalo on Friday night, the Flashes (8-11, 1-3 Mid-American Conference) faced rival Akron on Saturday night and gave the Zips (12-4, 4-0) everything they could handle before losing in the fifth set by three points.

The Flashes kept pace with the Zips to begin the match but dropped the first set 25-22 after totaling 12 kills to Akron’s 16.

The Flashes quickly rebounded, however, and the second set wasn’t as close. Kent State made more kills, more blocks and fewer errors en route to a 25-12 win and a tied match.

Sophomore middle blocker Meredith Paskert said passing was an issue throughout the match, but her team was dialed in during the second set.

“That’s probably what caused us the most problems,” she said. “We took away a lot of our errors (in the second set), and we got our passing better. We were able to run a huge offense. We got blocks, which helped a lot. Our blocking keeps us in games.”

Junior outside hitter Maigan Larsen and junior middle blocker Liva Brivule combined for 11 kills in the third set to give the Flashes a 25-22 win.

Akron took the first five points in the fourth and never relinquished the lead, winning 25-22. Kent State coach Glen Conley said his team gave the set away.

“There’s positioning errors, matchup errors, mental errors and hitting errors,” he said. “It’s pretty ridiculous. We gave them eight points in that game, and when you do that, they’re going to win.”

Conley said it’s almost impossible to come back and win a set when the opposition goes on a large scoring run.

“The statistics are, when you give up a run of seven or more, you lose 95 percent of the time. We gave up a run of five in a row right off the bat, and that’s a run that we have to recover from.”

The game was tied at 12-all in the deciding set, but three straight kills from the Zips gave them the 15-12 victory and kept them undefeated in the MAC.

The Flashes put an end to their three-match losing streak Friday night when they beat Buffalo in a five-set thriller (25-23, 26-28, 27-25, 20-25, 15-9). The win was Kent State’s first five-set victory of the season in four chances.

The Flashes’ play above the net keyed their win over the Bulls. They out-blocked Buffalo 19-6.

Losing close matches has been common for Kent State throughout the season, with five-set losses to Syracuse, Murray State and James Madison. After the five-set loss to Akron on Saturday, Paskert said she believes her team can compete with anyone.

“It’s just finishing,” she said. “Especially a game like this, you just have to come in and play harder and take them down. Revenge is sweet.”

Contact Sports Reporter Tom Crilley at [email protected].