Volleyball moves west to snap losing streak

Josh Johnston

Junior outside hitter Jenny Keck thinks the Kent State volleyball team doesn’t necessarily have to win this weekend, they just have to play well.

“If we come out with a loss – granted no one’s going to be happy about that – but it’s how we play that will make it a good weekend or a bad weekend,” Keck said.

However, two wins could help the Flashes (12-7, 2-4 Mid-American Conference), who have lost their last four matches. This weekend Kent State will play at Ball State at 7 p.m. today and at Toledo at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

The Flashes have only won eight matches in 42 meetings with the Cardinals, but Kent State has bested Ball State in the last two matches. The Flashes have also beaten Toledo in the last two meetings.

Passing has hampered Kent State lately as the team has recorded 14 serve reception errors and seven ball handling errors in their last four matches. The offense has suffered as a result with Kent State failing to hit above .200 during the losing streak.

Sophomore middle blocker Celia Sabo said the Flashes have been getting back to their spring season mindset to fix their problems.


(8-12, 4-2 MAC) (9-10, 1-5 MAC)

Where: Muncie, Ind. and Toledo

When: 7 p.m. today and 3 p.m. tomorrow

“It was a lot of ball control and focus and getting the job done,” she said. “Practice has been a lot more intense lately.”

One adjustment Kent State has made to improve passing is moving further back on the court to receive serves. Senior outside hitter Sarah Kaczuk said the team’s passing is considerably better now.

“As long as we get comfortable with (moving back) – which I think we are – and we just focus on what we have to do as passers, I definitely think the passing will be much better this weekend,” she said.

The Flashes will have to receive serves well this weekend as Toledo has served up the second most amount of aces in the MAC. The Rocket’s Kassie Kadera leads in the MAC with 27 aces on the year. Kent State, however, has allowed the fewest aces per set in the conference.

Communication has also been a focus during practice for the Flashes. Keck said the team is getting back to doing “ball people.”

“It’s the way we talk when we’re on the court,” she explained. “When we’re on our side, we say what we’re doing and where we’re going. Then, when the ball’s on the other side of the court, we’re saying how good is their pass, where their other hitters are going, where the set goes. There’s kind of a lot to it.”

Kaczuk said the Flashes need to win this weekend to boost their confidence.

“After the last two weekends, it’s definitely very important for us to come out strong and prove something to ourselves,” she said. “We’re not sitting here feeling bad for ourselves; it’s just more determination to get the job done.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].