The Kent State volleyball team is riding a four game losing skid after getting swept for the second consecutive weekend.
The Flashes (10-15, 3-7 Mid-American Conference) were unable to maintain a consistent offense against Western Michigan Saturday evening, as it took just three sets for the Broncos (18-6, 8-2) to walk out of the M.A.C. Center with a win (25-20, 25-17, 25-20). The Broncos posted 48 kills to the Flashes’ 36.
Kent State put together a stronger performance Friday night against the Huskies (22-2, 8-1), but the end result was the same. It was their fifth five-set loss of the season.
The Huskies took the first set, but a libero change by Flashes helped them take a 2-1 edge. Kent State had one of the stronger teams in the MAC on the ropes in the fourth, but the Huskies fought back to force a fifth set.
The Huskies attack game was too much for the Flashes, as they took the set and the game (25-15, 20-25, 22-25, 27-25, 15-11).
Senior outside hitter Lauren Jones was moved to the libero position midway through the Flashes’ first match. Kent State coach Glen Conley said the move was made to try to combat his opponent’s offense.
“We need better passing,” he said. “Northern really serves very, very aggressively, and until I saw it first hand in the first game, I didn’t realize just how good their serving was. That forced me to make a change to get into a better passing lineup. I think that was the move that made us competitive.”
Jones had 24 digs on the weekend. She said the biggest thing the Flashes need to focus on is finishing matches.
“Sometimes you might be over-analyzing everything,” Jones said. “We need to just play volleyball. We all know how to play volleyball and that’s what it comes down to, just working hard.”
She said the team is frustrated, but it can learn from the way it has performed in recent weeks.
“We have to work on our intensity,” she said. “Staying relaxed but with an intensity to get it done. I guess that’s the only way I can describe it. We can’t get too caught up in the end of a match. We just have to keep fighting. We can’t sit and feel sad for ourselves.”
Conley said his team didn’t play the same in sets four and five against the Huskies as it did in sets two and three.
“It was game four that caused the loss tonight,” he said. “It wasn’t necessarily game five. You get into a game five against a team that’s 22-2, and who has the confidence? Obviously they do. What happens is you get a little nervous. Some of the girls started tipping at the end, and it’s just one of those things. You can’t allow even a point or two to get away in that fifth game.”
The Flashes will be at home again this Thursday to take on Ohio.
Contact Tom Crilley at [email protected]