Losing streak continues for Kent State volleyball team

Josh Johnston

Flashes’ troubles leave them at bottom of MAC standings

The Kent State volleyball team came closer to winning than it has in the past six matches. The Flashes held leads in all three sets. They came from behind to even scores.

But in the end, Miami edged Kent State on Saturday in three close sets: 25-23, 25-22 and 25-23.

“This was one that could have gone either way,” Kent State coach Glen Conley said. “We lost by seven total points in three games. It was a heck of a fight.”

Kent State also lost to Bowling Green in straight sets Friday. Although the Flashes (13-14, 3-11 Mid-American Conference) extended their losing streak to seven matches, senior outside hitter Ashley Feutz said the team’s effort against the Redhawks was encouraging to see.

“We fought harder in this game than we have in a long time,” she said. “Obviously, there’s still more fight, but it was an improvement.

“It was good to know (the fight’s) not gone, and we’re more than able to do it. Miami’s a good team, and it’s upsetting, but we hung there.”

Kent State failed to capitalize on any leads it held during the match. In the opening set, the Flashes led 22-20 before the Redhawks rallied for a 5-1 run to win the set. Senior defensive specialist Sarah Kaczuk said the team needs to keep working to win sets.

“(It’s) just sticking our nose in and doing it one time,” she said. “Once we do it, it’ll be easier and easier to continue.”

On offense, Kent State recorded a .212 hitting percentage, a stronger performance than the night before against the Falcons when the Flashes only hit .085.

The Flashes’ blocking, which Conley criticized after the Bowling Green loss, also improved overnight as Kent State recorded seven blocks.

“I was very happy with the way they executed the blocking schemes,” Conley said. “I don’t think technically we did everything correctly. Mentally, we had the players in the positions to make the block. That was big. That was an improvement.”

While Conley saw encouraging signs from his team against Miami, he was less than pleased the night before after his team lost to Bowling Green in three sets.

Like Saturday’s match, Kent State failed to take advantages of its leads, losing the third set despite being ahead 23-19 at one point.

“You can’t do that,” Conley said after Friday night’s match. “You can’t come out and not compete for two games, and then come out and compete for a game and think you did something.”

Bowling Green won the first two sets by 10 points, and then came from behind in the third set to win 26-24.

“I’m very frustrated,” Conley said. “Obviously you can see we can compete. We needed to do this from the beginning.”

Overall though, Conley said he hopes the Flashes can build from this weekend.

“Building weekends produce results, and that’s what we’re focusing on,” he said. “I know the girls are heartbroken of it because obviously the results are not what we expected this whole season.

“If it translates into some positive results, then yeah, that’s what we’re hoping for. That’s what every day is supposed to be. Every day is supposed to be a building.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].