Flashes end two-game losing skid

Doug Gulasy

Six games into the Mid-American Conference season, Kent State volleyball controls its own destiny.

The Flashes (13-6, 4-2 MAC) defeated Central Michigan 3-0 Saturday at Rose Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich., snapping a two-match losing streak in the process.

“We knew going into these last two weeks, with (Bowling Green), Miami, (Ohio) and Central (Michigan) that it was going to be a tough two weeks and we talked about it quite a bit,” Kent State coach Glen Conley said.

“We felt like if we went 3-1 or 2-2 that we’d be in pretty good shape, and that’s what happened with the win (Saturday) night. We ended up 2-2 over the last couple of weekends, so we feel pretty good about where we’re at right now.”

The Flashes are tied with Bowling Green for third place in the MAC East Division, and the Flashes and Falcons also have the fourth-best conference record at 4-2.

The top four teams in the MAC receive byes at the conference tournament in November. Because the Flashes beat Bowling Green on Sept. 28, they hold the tiebreaker over the Falcons, and, in Conley’s words, “feel like we have everything in our hands,” in regard to the bye.

“It’s nice to not have to rely on someone else to get you where you want to be,” sophomore Katie Veatch said. “Right now, we’re still in control … It’s nice to know that you have control because if you don’t, then it’s almost like it’s not as sweet as winning it if someone else did it for you.

“You have to wait to see if this person beat this person and have to think about that kind of stuff. It’s better to just take it yourself.”

The Flashes came into the match against Central Michigan having lost their previous two matches, to Miami and Ohio, by 3-0 scores.

However, Veatch said the team had forgotten about those matches by the time it played the Chippewas.

“Once the day’s over, we start focusing on the next match,” she said. “We had all Friday to prepare for Central Michigan. We didn’t think about (the loss Thursday to) OU because we can’t really do anything now, until we play them next time.”

Conley had been somewhat displeased with his team’s blocking in the previous two matches, but he said his team played a “tremendous defensive match” against Central Michigan.

“The blocking sets the tone for (good defense),” he said. “It’s the front line of the defense … The number of blocks (12) that we got last night was quite a bit, but I was even more impressed with our blocking discipline … in setting up the blocks.

” … We weren’t reaching outside of our bodies. We weren’t giving them cheap kills on deflections, and that was what we focused on most,” Conley said.

“We really did not focus on trying to block balls as much as we focused on just trying to take space on the net.”

After the Flashes won the first game 30-27, they trailed just once in the final two games, when Central Michigan led 1-0 in game three. They took game two 30-23 and the third game 30-20.

Next, the volleyball team will host Toledo on Friday and Ball State on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center.

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Doug Gulasy at [email protected].