Volleyball loses twice on the road

Josh Johnston

Kent State struggles against Miami then are bowled over by Falcons on Saturday

The Kent State volleyball team lost three times in the four weeks before Mid-American Conference play began. But only two weeks into conference play, the Flashes have already lost two matches.

Kent State (12-5, 2-2 MAC) was swept by Miami on Friday and then lost to Bowling Green in five sets Saturday. The two losses put the Flashes in a three-way tie for second place in the MAC East.

“We’re very disappointed in how this weekend went,” senior outside hitter Ashley Feutz said. “Both these teams are teams we’re better than, but we did not come out to play. We didn’t come out to fight, so that’s frustrating.”

In the first two sets against Bowling Green, Kent State held early leads until scoring runs by the Falcons kept the Flashes behind for good. Bowling Green took the sets 25-22 and 25-17.

“When they pushed back on us, we gave up,” Feutz said. “When they had a kill, we didn’t come back with one. We just kind of fell flat.”

The Flashes came back to win the third and fourth sets, 25-18 and 25-22. The team committed only eight errors during the two sets, almost half as many as the first two sets.

“We executed our game plan,” Feutz said. “Unfortunately we had to wait until game three and four to come out like that.”

In the final set, Bowling Green shut down Kent State 15-5. The Falcons started with a three-point run and finished with a six-point burst.

Kent State coach Glen Conley said prolonging the match wasn’t a moral victory for the Flashes.

“You can’t say, ‘Well, we came back and fought in games three and four,'” he said. “Yeah, we put some things together, but it wasn’t enough. We didn’t do what we needed to do to win this match.”

Earlier in the weekend, Kent State lost to Miami 25-12, 25-22 and 25-14. The Redhawks held the Flashes to their lowest hitting percentage of the season at .082.

“We didn’t have any energy at all,” Conley said. “It was almost apathetic. It’s really something I haven’t seen this year.”

The reigning MAC champions hit .369 against Kent State with 44 kills to the Flashes’ 30.

Junior setter Katie Veatch said the team cannot afford to make tentative starts in matches anymore.

“We can never come out and play slow,” she said. “We came out, and we weren’t playing aggressively. You can never do that, especially against a good team.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].

Game notes:

• On the bright side…

Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Jones recorded 31 kills over the weekend. Against Bowling Green, she made only three errors and hit .348.

• Deja vu

Last season when Kent State played the Falcons at their home court, Bowling Green took the first two sets, the Flashes came back for the third and fourth sets and Bowling Green still won.

• Against the Bobcats

Kent State will host Ohio at 7 p.m. Thursday in the M.A.C. Center. The Flashes are 22-34 all-time against Ohio. Last year Kent State lost to the Bobcats three times, including a 3-1 loss in the MAC Tournament semifinals.