Volleyball just misses winning in weekend tournament

Tom Crilley

Flashes drop two matches in five sets

Wins eluded the Kent State volleyball team at the Bearcat Invitational in Cincinnati this weekend.

The Flashes were swept in the tournament, losing all three matches, including two five-set matches on Saturday.

After coming up short in its first two matches, Kent State (4-4) was determined to salvage a win against James Madison for its final match on Saturday. The Flashes took the first set 25-21 but lost the next two 25-19 and 25-23, respectively.

The team tied it up with a 25-21 victory in the fourth to force a fifth set. Kent State jumped out to an early lead but faltered down the stretch, losing to the Dukes, 15-13.

“We didn’t put the ball on the floor like we need to,” Kent State coach Glen Conley said. “We had 47 kills in a five-game set. That’s less than 10 a game, and you just can’t win like that.

“It’s a tribute to the fact that we fought that we were even in the match because they had 65 kills, so it wasn’t even close.”

That wasn’t the only close loss the Flashes suffered Saturday, as they couldn’t pull out an early morning win against Murray State in another five-set match.

Kent State looked to rebound from Friday night’s loss to Cincinnati, but lost to the Racers 15-11 in the deciding set.

Conley said he felt the Flashes were the better team, but some crucial points in sets three and five slipped away from them.

“We out-hit them, we out-served them and we out-blocked them, and we lost,” Conley said. “We were swinging for the win, and we just didn’t get it done. We had the person we wanted swinging, and it just didn’t happen.”

The Flashes’ first match Friday seemed to set the tone for the rest of the weekend with a lopsided loss to the host-team Bearcats (20-25, 17-25, 22-25).

Conley said despite having high hopes and feeling good about the tournament, the team just didn’t do enough to get the win.

“I think losing that match (against Cincinnati) maybe hurt us a little more than we thought it did,” he said. “There are really no excuses. I felt like we could have and should have won the next two matches.”

Leading the team this weekend was sophomore outside hitter Meredith Paskert with 38 total kills. Paskert was also named to the all-tournament team. Junior Maigan Larsen added 51 digs, 26 of them coming in one match.

Conley said the team is disappointed with the outcome but certainly not discouraged.

“There’s a lot of fight in them,” he said. “Whenever you lose you have some weaknesses that are exposed, and we’ve got to deal with those weaknesses, and continue to build on our strengths. That’s the bottom line for us.”

Contact Tom Crilley at [email protected].

Bearcat Invitational results

Cincinnati 3, Kent State 0

Murray State 3, Kent State 2

James Madison 3, Kent State 2

Player of the weekend: Meredith Paskert (38 kills, named to the all-tournament team)

Stat of the weekend: 13

The Flashes battled through 13 sets in less than 24 hours en route to being swept on the weekend.