Good isn’t good enough for KSU volleyball team

Doug Gulasy

The Kent State volleyball team has already matched its victory total from a year ago, but coach Glen Conley doesn’t want the Flashes to get complacent.

“Our expectations are season-long goals and things that we want to accomplish,” he said. “I think we’re on our way to meeting those goals and possibly exceeding some, but … if you feel like somebody’s met your goal — ‘Oh, we’ve met the goal’ — that’s when you’d better really be careful because you’re going to backslide. You’re going to have a relaxation, a relapse, and you can’t do that.”

One goal Conley has for his team is to clinch a first-round bye at the Mid-American Conference tournament. To fulfill the goal, Conley said his team has to play each point separate from the previous one.

“You try to play each ball to the finish, to the whistle, and then you forget about it and you play the next ball,” he said. “I try to coach to the next point, and I’m trying to get the players to learn to play to the next point.

“A lot of times, we have a tendency to dwell on our mistakes, and that only puts us behind the 8-ball. I can’t win that point back – it’s already gone, it’s in the past. So I have to try to win the next point.”

The Flashes (13-6, 4-2 MAC) host Toledo (3-14, 0-6) tonight at 7 p.m. and Ball State (3-15, 2-4) tomorrow at 7 p.m. Both matches will be played in the M.A.C. Center.

Even though the Flashes’ opponents don’t have the best records, Conley said his team couldn’t afford to overlook them.

“Everybody has talented players here in this conference,” he said. “There’s not a team that doesn’t have people who can hurt you. When those players get hot, no matter how the team has been playing, they can carry a team.

“Toledo’s got some really good players. They’ve got some power on the outsides, and we’re going to have to really deal with that. So we respect the game, and we respect the opponent — their talent. That’s how you’d better be able to get up every day because if you’re not, you’re going to get bit.”

Toledo and Ball State wouldn’t be the first team to upset the Flashes this season. Appalachian State had a record of 2-9 before the Mountaineers defeated the Flashes 3-2 on Sept. 15.

The Flashes would also likely want to avoid what happened to them last season. After a 13-9 start last season, including a 6-4 MAC record, the team lost its final seven matches of the season — another reason Conley wants his team to avoid dwelling on its mistakes.

“I think trying not to take things to bed with you is really important,” he said. “At the end of the day, if you lose, you’ve got to be able to look yourself in the mirror and realize you’re still a winner, you’re still a good player…your losses happen in the short term, and your successes are permanent.”

Contact sports reporter Doug Gulasy at [email protected].