Volleyball falls in three straight

Tom Crilley

The Kent State volleyball team lost in three straight sets to Ohio University in Athens Thursday.

The Flashes opened MAC play against a team that is consistently one of the best in the league. The Bobcats entered this season as the defending MAC champion and are once again the favorite to win the title.

Ohio jumped ahead early in the first set with a 13-5 lead because of a solid hitting game, accompanied with a handful of attack errors by the Flashes. The Bobcats never looked back as they continued to thrive off of errors from the Flashes, winning the set 25-13.

Head coach Glen Conley said his team got off to a sluggish start and wasn’t ready to go.

“We did not fight,” he said. “And when you don’t fight, and you’re not ready to play ball, you’re going to get drilled. That’s what happened. We played very tentatively tonight.”

The Flashes managed to keep the second set much closer. The team was down 18-16 late in the game, but the Bobcats hit a hot streak. The Flashes were behind 21-17 when Conley called a timeout to gather his team. The timeout failed to slow down the Bobcats, as they scored the next four points to win the set 25-17.

The Flashes started the third set with a 3-0 lead, but things quickly fell apart. The team posted just five kills and had five service errors, one attack error and a ball-handling error. Ohio took advantage of the errors to score some easy points and win the final set 25-15.

The Flashes posted a hitting percentage of -.259 percent in the third set. This isn’t the first time the team has struggled in the hitting game. Attack problems have plagued the Flashes all season, resulting in a variety of lineup changes.

Conley said his team played with no confidence, and he’s disappointed with how it played in the MAC season opener.

“It was a total collapse,” he said. “It wasn’t one or two people. Everybody just didn’t fight. When you go in and don’t take hard swings and you take little shots, you’re not going to get kills. It was the ugliest we’ve played all season long. There’s no question about it. It was embarrassing.”

Conley also said that the Bobcats aren’t as strong as they’ve been in the past, and his team’s poor play may result in more lineup changes.

“We’re going to have to reassess our team,” he said. “Everything’s on the table at this point and time. You can’t go down and play the opening match in the MAC like that and not have your job in jeopardy. I told (the girls) they’re going to have to get competitive and decide that this means something to them instead of just accepting a scholarship and playing volleyball.”

Kent State will continue its road trip on Saturday against Eastern Michigan.

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