Volleyball team looks to come out strong at home

Josh Johnston

All week the Kent State volleyball team has focused on one thing: starting strong.

With their first home matches today and tomorrow, the Flashes (8-2) will look to avoid continuing their recent trend of weak starts.

“It’s not going to happen this tournament,” senior outside hitter Ashley Feutz said. “(We’re) making sure we come out on that first game firing and not waiting until game two or three to finally show up.”

Kent State has lost two of three tournament openers this season. Despite its slow starts, the team has won all three tournaments.

“I’m expecting us to come out with a fire under our butts and ready to go this weekend,” sophomore outside hitter Lauren Jones said. “We’re not going to come out flat.”


KENT STATE (8-2) vs DUQUESNE (9-2),


Where: M.A.C. Center

When: 7 p.m. today, noon and 7 p.m. tomorrow

The Flashes will open the Kent State/Mizuno Open against Duquesne (9-2) at 7 p.m. today in the M.A.C. Center. Kent State coach Glen Conley said the Dukes are a strong defensive team and will be a tough first challenge.

“They don’t make mistakes,” he said. “You have to beat them. I expect it to be a tremendous matchup.”

Tomorrow, Kent State will play Chicago State (0-12) at noon. The Cougars have not won a single set yet this season.

The Flashes will close out the tournament at 7 p.m. tomorrow against Ohio State (6-3), which is coming off a 3-0 loss last weekend against No. 6 USC.

The Buckeyes will bring with them a face the Flashes recognize – former Ohio coach Geoff Carlston, who took over at Ohio State before this season.

“They’re very well-coached,” Conley said. “We know that from when (Carlston) was at (Ohio). We think they’re going to be very similar to what (Ohio) was.”

Jones said whether they’re playing Chicago State or Ohio State, the Flashes will need to be aggressive.

“We always have to go out there expecting them to want to kick our butts,” she said. “We always have to come out strong, no matter who’s on the other side of the net.”

Conley said having home court advantage this weekend could give the Flashes a boost. Last season, Kent State posted an 8-3 home record. Also, the team’s parents will be in attendance for parent’s weekend.

“I’m really excited because my parents are coming,” Jones said. “I know everybody else’s parents are coming. It’s going to be a fun environment to play in.”

Feutz said she is excited to finally play at home after three road trips. She said she hopes to see large crowds at the tournament.

“This is our home,” Feutz said. “We want to impress people.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].