Volleyball wins three weekend matches

Josh Johnston

Although the Kent State volleyball team beat all of its opponents to win the University of Maine tournament this weekend, it had trouble with one team – itself.

Inconsistencies weighed down what was otherwise a strong weekend for Kent State (5-1). The Flashes swept Quinnipiac on Friday and then beat both Providence College and Maine in four games Saturday to finish the weekend on a five-match win streak.

Against Maine, Kent State struggled with consistency, Kent State coach Glen Conley said. After winning game one 25-13 and making only one hitting error, the Flashes made 12 errors in game two en route to a 25-11 loss.

Conley said the team’s speed on offense can cause inconsistency.

“It’s very high risk,” he said, “and it’s high reward. At that point in time it was a high risk, and we just didn’t make the plays.”

Conley said the offense got more consistent after the second game. Kent State won the next two games 25-19 and 25-22 to win the match. Sophomore Lauren Jones notched 18 kills to lead the offense and finish out the tournament with 41.

“I wasn’t focusing on ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to miss this,'” Jones said. “I was just thinking about where I was going to hit the ball. I was focusing on my job and what I had to do.”

Earlier Saturday, the Flashes defeated Providence 3-1. After losing the first game 25-23, the Flashes won the next three by scores of 25-18, 25-17 and 25-16.

Volleyball box score:

Vs. Quinnipiac: W 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-22)

Vs. Providence College: W 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-16)

Vs. Maine: W 3-1 (25-13, 11-25, 25-19, 25-22)

“We struggled a little bit there in game one,” Conley said. “After that we were really able to control the volleyball and didn’t make errors. We made them play the ball in every situation. It really made a big difference.”

The night before, despite the Flashes winning in three games against Quinnipiac, Conley said the team played “an ugly volleyball match.”

“We made way too many mistakes and really gave Quinnipiac a chance to win some games,” he said. “It was a good effort, but I think it was a lot of wasted effort.”

The Flashes recorded season lows in kills and hitting percentage against Quinnipiac. Seniors Ashley Feutz and Krista Groce led the team offensively with seven kills each.

“I think our intensity wasn’t nearly as high as it normally (is),” Jones said. “We didn’t play like we knew how to play.”

Jones, along with Feutz and sophomore Kristen Barr, were named to the all-tournament team. Feutz totaled 36 kills, including the 1,000th of her career, over the weekend. Barr made 53 digs to set the pace defensively for the team.

Conley said the Flashes will continue to work on becoming consistent before they head to this weekend’s Air Force Academy Tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo. The team will try to simulate game situations during practice, he said.

“That’s the big thing: consistency,” he said. “If we get that, and I think we will, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].