Volleyball team uses tough schedule to get ready for MAC season

Ashley Sepanski

KSU still trying for first win of season

Kent State volleyball coach Glen Conley said there is a simple explanation for the Flashes’ 0-5 record.

Conley said he purposely scheduled tough teams this season to prepare the Flashes for the Mid-American Conference.

Among MAC East teams, Ohio has won all three of its opening matches this season, two of which were shutouts. Miami recently defeated Alabama, a team expected to finish third in the Southeastern Conference. Bowling Green is also expected to play well, opening the season with four straight wins.

Conley said with seven new players, he wanted a tougher schedule and several up-front away games to help bond and prepare the team.

“I intentionally scheduled away games because it’s easier to bond on the road,” Conley said. “We’re staying in hotels, spending hours traveling and playing tough teams to get comfortable.”

Next on the Flashes’ schedule is the Patriot Invitational, which opens tonight at 7 p.m. in Fairfax, Va. Over the weekend, the Flashes will face George Mason, Morehead State and Cornell.

Conley said the Flashes readied themselves for the tournament with videos of each team. Kent State used the videos to breakdown plays, analyze players and determine the best tactics to use on the court.

Tonight, Kent State will play George Mason for the first time. However, Conley said he has a bit of background experience with the Eagles. Conley said he played George Mason when he coached volleyball at Army.

He has a rough idea of what to expect, Conley said, and he mandated an “exhausting” breakdown of the whole George Mason team.

Also making an appearance this weekend, Morehead State will face Kent State at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, followed by top Ivy League competitor Cornell at 4:30 p.m..

Conley said he has confidence in all his players, each of whom were specifically recruited by Kent State. Conley said Kent State spent three years recruiting freshman outside hitter, Meredith Paskert, who currently leads the team with kills.

“Meredith is not playing like you’d expect a freshman to play,” Conley said. “She has a competitive attitude that inspires the other girls.”

Sophomore middle blocker Liva Brivule is also making her mark. Brivule played her first game against Pittsburgh Wednesday, and she is excited to play again at the Patriot Invite.

“I’m excited to play in the weekend games,” Brivule said. “I know I can play better and I will (play better).”

Conley said the returning players have stepped up as well, and he expects the Flashes to play hard this weekend.

“It’s going to be a great test for us,” Conley said. “We need to be at full strength.”

Contact sports reporter Ashley Sepanski at [email protected].