Volleyball team shrugs off fatigue

Ashley Sepanski

Flashes face Rockets and Cardinals next

After weeks of practice, film and games both home and away, the Kent State volleyball team will push on in Mid-American Conference play with home matches against Ball State and Toledo this weekend.

The Flashes (10-10, 3-3 MAC) are slightly more than halfway through the season and are starting to deal with fatigue.

“It’s the middle of October, so everybody’s bodies are starting to hurt,” senior setter Jenny Keck said. “We rarely get days off because we (practice) Monday through Thursday and then play Friday and Saturday.”

Keck said the team is tired but looks forward to playing, especially at home.

“I just love playing,” Keck said. “Then we’re home again, so we don’t have to worry about packing or traveling. It’s just really nice to be at home with the home crowd, and all our friends can be here.”

Keck said her family will travel from Fort Wayne, Ind., to support the team.

“My family’s coming from home, and I have an aunt from Indianapolis, and my sister lives there too,” Keck said. “I’m hoping that (my sister) is coming, but it depends on everything she has to do over the weekend.”

Friday, the Flashes will take on Ball State (10-9, 3-3 MAC). Last season, junior outside hitter Lauren Jones led Kent State to a victory over the Cardinals with 21 kills in five sets.

Senior middle blocker Alisha Green leads Ball State with 209 kills and 15 solo blocks for the season. Trailing Green with 150 kills, senior outside hitter Julie Breivogel has recorded 121 digs and is ranked 10th in Cardinal program history in the stat. Breivogel also led the Cardinals against the Flashes last season with 16 kills.

Following Friday’s match, Kent State will finish the weekend against Toledo (11-7, 2-4 MAC). Toledo defeated Kent State last season in four sets and currently leads the MAC with 15.92 digs per match.

Senior middle blocker Sarah Wilson stars for the Rockets with a .265 attack percentage and is ranked second on the team in blocks per set. Leading Toledo’s offense, sophomore outside hitter Amber DeWeerdt averages 3.59 kills per set, totaling 255 for the season.

Despite Ball State and Toledo’s impressive statistics, Kent State coach Glen Conley said the Flashes have some rankings of their own that impress him as the team prepares for the MAC Tournament. Senior outside hitter Arjola Prenga recently moved from ninth to eighth in the country in kills per set with an average of 4.69.

“It’s phenomenal,” Conley said. “Arjola will probably go up even higher because she just had (about) six a game (against Bowling Green).”

Kent State was also ranked 18th in the country for blocks per set.

“The MAC is an excellent conference,” Conley said. “If we’re going to compete, which we are, in the MAC championship rounds, you’ve got to be ranked in the country in some things because that’s how strong it is. You’ve got to start having those kinds of performances, so I’m really pleased to see it.”

Keck said the Flashes have potential to sweep both teams.

“I think both teams are beatable as long as we come in to work and come in to play our game,” Keck said.

The Games


Where: The M.A.C. Center

When: 7 p.m. tonight

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Where: The M.A.C. Center

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Contact sports reporter Ashley Sepanski at [email protected]