Kent State volleyball wins over Youngstown State

Tom Crilley

The Kent State volleyball team overcame dropping its first set to beat Youngstown State 3-1 last night.

The Flashes (6-6), who have struggled with hitting in recent weeks, made gains against the Penguins in Youngstown. Coach Glen Conley said moving senior Lauren Jones into the setter position and better passing were the keys to his team’s hitting success.

“We had to make some adjustments,” he said. “I think tonight was a result of getting a little more comfortable in the adjustments. Lauren Jones put the ball right where it needed to be, and our hitters came through at that point.”

Jones garnered a double-double with 43 assists and 16 digs. As a team, the Flashes recorded 52 kills and a .294 hitting percentage.

The Penguins beat the Flashes in the first set, but that would be Youngstown’s only win of the night. The Flashes had the lead early before the Penguins went on a run to make the score 14-9. Kent State couldn’t fight back and dropped the set, 25-18.

The Flashes jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set with a kill from senior middle blocker Celia Sabo and a service ace from Jones. The team never trailed and went on to win the set convincingly, 25-16.

The third set was the closest of the night with the score being tied 14 times. The Flashes were down 21-17 when Conley called a timeout. With the help of junior outside hitter Maigan Larsen, the team took control, finishing on an 8-2 run to win the set and go up 2-1.

Youngstown State led 14-12 in the fourth but let the lead slip away with 13 attack errors.

For Kent State, Larsen was the standout player of the night with 15 kills and a .481 hitting percentage.

“Our coach gave us a really inspirational speech,” she said. “It just got us really fired up. Coming out today we really wanted to prove ourselves. We made some strides tonight, and we’re starting to trust each other.”

Conley said he liked how his team fought to finish out the match at the end.

“I know Youngstown has been struggling and we’ve been struggling,” Conley said. “I was really impressed that we were able to make a couple comebacks. That was very important for us because that’s the first time we’ve been able to do that late.”

The Flashes host Duquesne, Louisiana-Monroe and Syracuse in the Kent State/Mizuno Open this weekend.

Contact Tom Crilley [email protected]