Volleyball to face MAC rival Akron

The Kent State volleyball team is traveling down the road tomorrow night for one of the biggest rivalries of its season.

The Flashes will battle Akron at Rhodes Arena to begin their 2006 Mid-American Conference season 7 p.m. tomorrow.

“Everyone is looking forward to starting the MAC season,” said Kent State Coach Mora Kanim. “Akron is always tough. They are only 15 minutes away, but they are a big rivalry. Most of the players know each other. We recruited some of their players and they recruited some of ours, but the teams are so different. That makes it a big match.”

Kent State is on a five-match winning streak in which it has won all three games of each match.

“I think we’re ready,” junior outside hitter Anja Knabe-Paulsen said. “We feel really good about ourselves.”

She said she feels more pumped up getting ready to play Akron, but her preparation for this game is the same as any other.

Kanim said the team is getting ready by balancing rest, reps and preparation through practicing.

“We go into every match expecting to win,” Kanim said. “If we wonder if we can win, then we’re in trouble.”

Paulsen said the team is willing to go all-out this season.

“Our players aren’t selfish whatsoever,” she said. “That really helps.”

She added that the freshmen have adjusted well to the team.

“I don’t feel like a freshman; I’m just part of the team,” freshman setter Katie Veatch said.

Veatch leads Kent State with 475 assists this season.

Veatch and Paulsen said that the Flashes’ goals this season are to win the MAC and get a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“We want that ring.” Paulsen said.

Kanim said she wants huge fan support for Kent State tomorrow night.

“I hope we get as many students to invade Akron as possible,” Kanim said.

Kent State is 7-5 heading into MAC competition.

“Our record is OK. We’re starting to peak at the right time,” Kanim said.

Akron is 6-7 this season. The Zips won both of their matches last year against Kent State.

“We don’t focus on last season,” Paulsen said. “We are a completely different team this season.”

Contact sports reporter Nate Stuart at [email protected].