Volleyball wins in five

Amanda Vasil

Freshman Krista Groce and senior Danielle Holt jump for the block against Cleveland State last night. The Flashes lost the first two games but came back to win the match 3-2. The team hits the road this weekend to play Bowling Green and Miami.

Credit: Jason Hall

A little perseverance was all the Kent State volleyball team needed as it defeated Cleveland State 3-2 last night in a five-game match.

The Flashes (9-17, 4-10 Mid-American Conference) dropped the first two games with scores of 30-27 and 30-26 to the Vikings (17-9, 9-3 Horizon League) but charged up their momentum to take the final three games 30-25, 30-23 and 15-12.

Despite technical errors in the first two games, the Flashes still came out with strong hitting and defensive energy. Senior outside hitter Danielle Holt led the Flashes with a .556 hitting average in the first game, followed by 11 kills in the second game.

After the loss in game two, the Flashes made a complete turnaround.

“We made less unforced errors,” Kent State coach Mora Kanim said, “and we became extremely aggressive, which was key to turning the match around.”

Although Kent State continued to trail the Vikings in team hitting average, the Flashes showed renewed defensive and offensive energy, always keeping a step ahead. After a 2-2 score early in the third set, the Flashes pulled ahead to hold the lead for the rest of the game.

With a dominating lead through the entire fourth and fifth sets, Kent State couldn’t be stopped and went on to take the match. The sudden change in energy after game two came mostly from senior leadership, Kanim said.

“You have to look to Holt and (Anne) Butts, our two captains,” she said. “They’re going to be the ones who set the tone, and tonight, they set the right tone.”

Butts and Holt led the Flashes in numbers as well, as both registered double-doubles. Holt grabbed her 14th double-double of the season with 26 kills and 20 digs, while Butts posted 49 assists and 13 digs. Sophomore Anja Knabe-Paulsen also led, recording her third triple-double of the season with 11 kills, 20 assists and 12 digs. Knabe-Paulsen also contributed with five service aces.

Junior Sarah Wilber and sophomore Anne Zakelj added to the offense with double-digit kills, tallying 18 and 10 respectively. Sophomore defensive specialist Laura Jensen notched a match-best 25 digs.

The Flashes set out on the road this weekend to finish out the MAC season against Bowling Green at 7 p.m. Friday and Miami at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Contact volleyball reporter Amanda Vasil at [email protected].