The Kent State volleyball team fought. The women ran down balls, dived onto the hard M.A.C. Center floor for digs and jumped to make blocks.
But in the end, Ohio State still came out on top in the final match of the Kent State/Mizuno Open tonight.
The Flashes (10-3) lost in straight games to the Buckeyes, 25-23, 25-21 and 25-23.
Kent State played hard, coach Glen Conley said, but errors prevented the team from winning.
“I think we were pressing too hard,” Conley said. “Maybe we thought we had to do more – play outside of ourselves.”
Kent State kept it close by never trailing the Buckeyes by more than four points during the match. The teams traded points back and forth for most of games one and three, tying the score 26 times in those sets.
In the first game, the Flashes led midway through until a 4-1 scoring run by Ohio State gave the Buckeyes the lead for good.
Ohio State’s tall blockers created problems for Kent State’s hitters, senior outside hitter Ashley Feutz said.
“You hit against a 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3 block; it’s a big block,” she said. “Our goal was to get a lot of high hands and to hit a lot of things high. Sometimes those fell, and sometimes unfortunately they fell on our court.”
Kent State never held a lead in the second game, as Ohio State started with a 5-1 run. Seven hitting errors and three service errors kept the Flashes behind for the entire game.
“Our mistakes beat us,” sophomore outside hitter Lauren Jones said. “Yeah, (Ohio State) is a good team, but we made too many mistakes. Those mistakes killed us.”
Despite being down 2-0, the Flashes came out strong in game three.
“At that point you have nothing to lose,” Feutz said. “You might as well go out swinging. Our motto here is to play positive aggressive volleyball. So when you’re down 2-0, what better chance (do you have)?”
Kent State kept a thin lead for the first half of the game, but a 4-0 run put Ohio State up 18-16. Kent State battled back to tie the score at 23, but the Buckeyes sealed the game and match with a kill by Ohio State’s Kristen Dozier and an error by Kent State senior middle blocker Krista Groce.
Conley said he wasn’t happy with the loss, but he has faith in his team.
“I believe in this team,” he said. “I’m very proud of the way we fight. We just need to clean up some errors and I think we’re going to beat teams like (Ohio State).”
Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected]