Volleyball team returns from Michigan with fifth straight loss

Ashley Sepanski

After returning home from Central Michigan this weekend with another lost match, the Kent State volleyball team still expects to turn things around.

The Flashes (11-15, 4-8 Mid-American Conference) fell to Central Michigan (14-8, 7-5 MAC) 3-0 Saturday, for their fifth straight loss.

Sophomore outside hitter Maigan Larsen said the Flashes are working on building teamwork to break the losing streak.

“We are a team,” Larsen said. “We have great practices and are extremely close off the court. Lately on the court, when it’s time to play, we play more individually than as a team.”

Senior setter Katie Veatch said she could not have said it better.

“I agree completely,” Veatch said. “Sometimes we get sucked into ourselves a bit.”

The match began with the Flashes and Central Michigan within a few points of each other. After a Central Michigan kill brought the score to 4-2, Kent State rallied to capture five straight points to take the lead, 7-4.

The Chippewas immediately matched Kent State’s point streak and regained the lead, 9-7. After both teams exchanged points, Central Michigan took another five-point streak to lead the Flashes, 17-11. Kent State attempted to come back, but an attack error ended the set, 25-21.

The second set proceeded with Kent State following closely behind Central Michigan. The two teams tied 12 different times during the set, but Kent State could not claim the lead. Similarly to the first set, an attack error ended the set 25-22.

Veatch said the Flashes did not stick to their game strategy.

“Central (Michigan) has a strong defense,” Veatch said. “We changed the lineup to get more people involved. We tried to run our game plan and focus on working hard every second, and I think we just got away from it.”

The Flashes recorded a .107 hitting percentage against Central Michigan’s defense, totaling 24 kills and 15 errors. On the other side of the net, Central Michigan scored 43 kills with 12 errors.

During the third set, Central Michigan gained an early lead and forced the Flashes into their second timeout at 12-3. After the timeout, the point gap between Central Michigan and Kent State widened before a Chippewas kill ended the match 25-11. Central Michigan did not use any of its six available timeouts during the match.

Larsen said the Flashes lacked intensity and fought fatigue.

“We focused on coming out aggressive and playing as a team,” Larsen said. “We had glimpses of it, but we didn’t accomplish it (Saturday). Our coach says working is when you’re tired, but pushing past it. At practices we are constantly pushing ourselves because every other team is also hurting, physically and mentally.”

Larsen and sophomore middle blocker Liva Brivule led the match with kills, each recording five.

The Flashes will continue the second half of MAC play with a home game against rival Akron on Friday.

Contact sports reporter Ashley Sepanski at [email protected].