Volleyball team opens season with four consecutive losses

Ashley Sepanski

The half-rookie, half-veteran Kent State volleyball team struggled to work together this weekend.

As a result, the Flashes were shut out with four straight losses at the IPFW Invitational in Fort Wayne, Ind. With the losses, Kent State extended its losing streak to 15 matches dating back to Oct. 18, 2008.

Three of Kent State’s seven new players started for the team this weekend. Kent State coach Glen Conley said lack of chemistry and trust contributed to the losses.

“Half of the team is new,” Conley said. “We need to develop trust that every player is giving 100 percent.”

Freshman outside hitter Meredith Paskert said the team needs to develop discipline and a strong defense, but is not too worried about chemistry.

“We’ve had good chemistry from the start,” Paskert said. “The (returning) players make the new players feel welcome.”

The Flashes began the tournament Friday with matches against Eastern Illinois and Drake. Eastern Illinois won 3-1 and Drake swept Kent State 3-0. Paskert led the team with eight aces and 18 kills for the day.

Conley said he was “shocked” by the outcome of both matches.

“In my opinion, we got beat by two teams we are better than,” Conley said.

On Saturday, Kent State lost its next two matches, 3-1 against IPFW and 3-0 against Butler. Conley said despite the losses, the team improved and played well.

“We had a lot of freshmen step up,” Conley said, “and we are getting better. We played well today, but didn’t see the results we wanted.”

Conley said unlike Friday’s matches, he expected IPFW and Butler to be strong competitors and was not as surprised by the losses.

“We need to get comfortable to compete well,” Conley said. “Volleyball is the ultimate team and we need to find an effective system.”

Junior libero Kristen Barr said the team has things to work on.

“We need to know when to serve tough and when to back off,” Barr said. “We also need to keep working on getting kills and putting the ball away.”

The Flashes will travel to Pittsburgh for its next match at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Contact sports reporter Ashley Sepanski at [email protected].