Volleyball struggles in first set, triumphs in the end

Cody Erbacher

Kent State outside hitter Maigan Larsen said there was no question she would do anything to beat Pittsburgh yesterday at the M.A.C Center, and after posting 11 kills, 13 digs and two blocks, she did in the Flashes’ 3-1 victory.

This win was just the second time Kent State (4-1) beat Pittsburgh (0-4) in the team’s history. The Flashes are now 2-11 against the Panthers.

“Pitt is a big rival for us,” Larsen said. “We beat them for the first time this past spring. I was going to do anything and everything to not let that ball hit the ground.”

Kent State coach Glen Conley said Kent State’s talent has improved to match Pittsburgh’s.

“Our talent level is starting to match Pitt’s,” he said. “And maybe it’s a little higher at this point in time. You’ve got to have horses, and we’ve got horses.”

After Kent State dropped the first set 25-19, the team cruised to victory winning three-straight sets by more than seven points each (25-13, 25-14, 25-18).

Conley said his team had too many hitting errors in the set. The Flashes recorded nine hitting errors in the first set.

“I told the team if we clean up our errors, then we will be in good shape,” Conley said. “They responded.”

Larsen, who finished with six errors in the game, said the team was keeping the set tight, but just couldn’t hit their marks.

“We were being aggressive, but at the same to you have to stay focused and keep the ball in play,” the 5-foot-10 junior said. “We had nine errors; you don’t even want five hitting errors.”

Following the minor mishap, the Flashes didn’t have more than five hitting errors in a set.

In the fourth set with the Flashes two points away from victory, Pittsburgh cut into their comfortable lead.

“We lost our focus a little bit there at the end of the game,” Conley said. “As soon as we start thinking we’re good or the game is over when there is two points left to play, we’re going to struggle.”

Although Pittsburgh put a little scare into Kent State, Conley called a timeout and focused the team. Kent State scored two straight to win the set and match with a 25-18 score.

Sophomore middle blocker Meredith Paskert led the Flashes with 13 kills and junior middle blocker Liva Brivule finished with 11.

Next the Flashes travel to their second tournament this season in Cincinnati for the Bearcat Invitational. The tournament will include Cincinnati, Murray State and James Madison on Friday and Saturday.

Contact Cody Erbacher at [email protected].