Chance of tournament bye diminishes after Flashes drop match to Bobcats

Doug Gulasy

All season long, players and coaches for the Kent State volleyball team have talked about the possibility of getting a bye in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

After the Flashes lost 3-0 to No. 15 Ohio last night at the Convocation Center in Athens, getting that bye is no longer a strong possibility.

Ohio won the individual games of the match by scores of 30-21, 30-23 and 30-15. It was the 12th win in a row for the Bobcats over the Flashes. The last nine of those have been decided by 3-0 scores.

In the first game, the Flashes and Bobcats played evenly early on, with two lead changes and seven ties. With the score tied at 11, Ohio scored the next five points to take control, and the closest the Flashes could pull was within two at 19-17.

After that first game, the Flashes never led. They fell behind by large margins in both the second and third games and couldn’t recover to avoid their third consecutive loss.

With the loss, the team dropped to 19-9 overall and 10-5 in the MAC. The team the Flashes are fighting for a bye, Bowling Green, plays Buffalo and Akron this weekend. The Zips and Bulls have a combined 3-25 MAC record.

Meanwhile, with a bye unlikely, the Flashes have to worry about seeding for the MAC Tournament.

The Flashes’ major competitors for the No. 5 seed — Eastern Michigan (18-11, 8-6 MAC) and Central Michigan (20-8, 9-5) — played each other last night.

The Flashes won at Central Michigan 3-0 earlier this year, giving them the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chippewas. Eastern Michigan comes to Kent tomorrow night, and a Flashes win would most likely clinch the No. 5 seed in the MAC Tournament.

With the No. 5 seed in the tournament, the Flashes would host a first-round match Tuesday evening. If they win that match, they will advance to the tournament quarterfinals, played Friday in Toledo.

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Doug Gulasy at [email protected].