Volleyball team works toward improvement, win to end season

Amanda Vasil

Senior hitter Danielle Holt hits a set during Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Ohio. The Flashes travel to Bowling Green to face the Falcons at 7 p.m. Friday.

Credit: Ben Breier

Just because a team is supposed to be aggressive doesn’t mean it’s going to be.

Luckily for the Kent State volleyball team, it only took two games to find its aggressiveness and come back for a match win Monday night.

The Flashes (9-17, 4-10 Mid-American Conference) defeated non-conference rival Cleveland State (17-9, 9-3 Horizon League) in five games with few errors and strong hitting.

“(Monday) night was a big win for us in terms of our team having a better understanding of our confidence level,” assistant coach Scott Carter said. “It’s the first time we dropped the first two games and came back to win, and really the first time we’ve been tested like that.”

The Flashes will finish their conference season on the road at Bowling at 7 p.m. Friday and at Miami at 7 p.m. Saturday.

When Kent State met Bowling Green (15-12, 7-7 MAC) only two weekends ago at the M.A.C. Center, the Flashes defeated the Falcons in four games, dropping the first, but taking the final three. Junior Sarah Wilber and freshman redshirt Ashley Feutz led the team’s offense. Wilber matched her career-high 15 kills, while Feutz set a career-high with 16 kills. Sophomore Anja Knabe-Paulsen posted her third triple-double of the season with 34 assists, 14 kills and 13 digs.

This weekend, the Flashes will contest with MAC East Player of the Week Stephanie Swiger, a sophomore middle hitter. Swiger led Bowling Green to a 3-1 victory over Miami last Thursday with 15 kills and a .433 hitting average. She also contributed defensively with four blocks and four assists.

Although Swiger is a player to watch, the main focus of the weekend will not be Bowling Green’s team or Miami’s team. Instead, the Flashes are going to continue to improve their own team and areas they can control, Carter said.

“Right now, it’s all about us,” he said. “We’re talking about our side of the floor and focusing on consistency and defensive efforts.”

There are two main areas the Flashes have been working on this week, Carter said. The first is having defensive intensity, which includes a digging mentality and a lot of effort.

“We’re looking to have a lot of heart and a lot of scrambling to keep the ball off the floor,” he said. “The second area of focus is going to be making good attacking decisions and limiting the attacks of our opponents.”

As the team works on overall execution and smooth transitions, it plans to take one match at a time, preparing for the MAC tournament every step of the way.

“Each match we win has been a boost for us,” Carter said. “We’re very prepared and very focused and intent on winning. We truly and honestly believe we can win the MAC championship.”

Contact volleyball reporter Amanda Vasil at [email protected].