Flashes break losing streak

Ashley Sepanski

Seniors bid farewell with win over Buffalo

Watch video from the game.

The Kent State volleyball team broke its 5-match losing streak this weekend, sweeping both of its home matches.

The Flashes (13-15, 6-8 Mid-American Conference) shut out Akron on Friday and Buffalo on Saturday in the M.A.C. Center.

Kent State opened senior night Saturday by taking the first set 25-17 against the Bulls. Conley said blocking and team intensity allowed the Flashes to win.

“Probably in the game of volleyball, what we did best was block,” Conley said. “I really felt like we did an excellent job of shutting them down at the net and getting a lot of touches. I think in the overall picture though, probably the greatest thing we did was believe and know that we were going to win this thing.”

Middle blockers sophomore Liva Brivule (1 solo, 4 assists) and junior Celia Sabo (4 assists) led the Flashes’ 11 team blocks.

Jenny Keck said the team brought focus and intensity from practice to the match.

“Everything was very focused, it was very intense (at practice) and I think that started it,” Keck said. “Then (during the game) it was like ‘OK, focus right now.’ We always remind each other, too, what we need to do for each game.”

The second set against Buffalo (15-13, 5-9 MAC) was closer, with both teams exchanging the lead before an attack error gave the Bulls set point at 23-24. A Buffalo service error and an ace by Prenga bumped the Flashes up to set point, 25-24.

A tip by the Bulls looked like it would tie the set for Buffalo, but Keck dove to make a last-second save and keep the ball in play. The Flashes then blocked a Buffalo attack and as the Bulls swung for another try, the ball flew out of bounds and ended the set, 26-24.

The Flashes took the lead during the third set after four straight Buffalo attack errors put Kent State up 16-12. Kent State maintained the lead and sophomore outside hitter Maigan Larsen’s kill took the set 25-20.

“They never quit on a ball,” Conley said. “They just said ‘We’re getting this done,’ and I would have to say that’s the greatest thing.”

Friday, Kent State swept Akron 25-18, 25-17 and 25-19. The Flashes out-blocked the Zips 13-2 and recorded a .346 hitting percentage compared to Akron’s .124.

Conley said team chemistry on the court came through all weekend.

“I think this team has bonded,” Conley said. “I think tonight (people) are seeing a result of that chemistry coming together, of people becoming a team, and it’s exciting.”

Contact sports reporter Ashley Sepanski at [email protected].