Volleyball team looks for road wins at Akron, Buffalo

Ashley Sepanski

Flashes hope illness won’t limit players in MAC matchups

After being recruited by Buffalo and Akron, freshman setter Zuzana Markova will face both teams on the Kent State volleyball team’s road trip this weekend.

“(Akron) tried to recruit me, but then they sent me an e-mail saying they already recruited someone,” Markova said. “And Buffalo tried to recruit me after I had already signed here (at Kent State). I’m excited to play them.”

Markova and the Flashes have a chance for revenge against the Bulls and the Zips, both of whom defeated Kent State in their last matchups.

After losing to Ohio and then sweeping Eastern Michigan last weekend, the Flashes currently hold even overall and conference records (8-8, 1-1 Mid-American Conference). Kent State coach Glen Conley said the team will not have an easy time getting above .500 this weekend.

“We want to go up and improve,” Conley said. “Buffalo and Akron are two much improved teams. Both have knocked off Bowling Green, which is typically a strong team, and we hope to challenge them on their home courts.”

Buffalo (10-5, 1-1) and Akron (9-7, 1-1) both defeated the Flashes 3-0 the last time they faced off.

Markova said the pressure is on to win.

“There’s a lot of pressure,” Markova said. “Sometimes I try to talk with my family at home (to handle the stress), but I’m just trying to stay focused. I know what I have to do, and I just want to win. Win and make good sets.”

Conley said the team will also have to overcome the various illnesses it has been battling if it wants to win.

“I think the girls are excited to be on the road again, but we’ve been fighting illnesses,” Conley said. “The girls are trying to get healthy, just as I am. We have bigger concerns.”

Conley, who has been sick on and off, said the team probably passed colds around to each other.

“We’ve been sick, but we’re not expecting anyone to miss matches or anything,” Conley said. “We’re going to go out and play tough.”

Leading Buffalo, senior outside hitter Dani Silvers has 195 kills on the season followed by junior outside hitter Marisa Hornbaker with 153. Junior setter Lindsey Schlegel recorded a season-high 48 assists during the Bull’s last match against Bowling Green and currently leads the MAC with 26 service aces.

Starring for Akron, senior setter Kara Smith is eighth in the MAC in assists with a 9.77 average for the season. Also leading the Zips, sophomore Courtney Jarvis recorded back-to-back double-doubles against Bowling Green and Miami while junior middle blocker Jackie Goleman scored a career-high six block assists against Bowling Green.

The Flashes will play against the Bulls tonight at 7 in Buffalo followed by Akron at 7 p.m. Saturday in the James A. Rhodes Arena.

Contact sports reporter Ashley Sepanski at [email protected].