KSU down but not out after sweep

Amanda Vasil

Sophomore Anja Knabe-Paulsen, outside hitter, passes the ball to senior Anne Butts, server, at last night’s volleyball match against Ohio University. The Flashes lost 3-0 to the Bobcats.

Credit: Jason Hall

There were three things missing at last night’s Kent State volleyball match.

Consistency, confidence and cohesion.

After three hard-fought games, the Flashes (8-16, 4-9 Mid-American Conference) fell to Ohio (23-2, 13-0 MAC) in a 3-0 sweep with scores of 30-14, 30-15, 30-26.

While trying to keep up its confidence against the No.1 team in the MAC, Kent State came out in the first two games with numerous errors and shaky execution.

“We really need to reduce our own errors,” sophomore Anja Knabe-Paulsen said. “We gave them a lot of serving errors and attacking errors and passing errors. We need to play at a more consistent level where we force the other team to make errors.”

Cutting down on these errors was difficult for the Flashes because of Ohio’s quick transitions and consistency, Kent State coach Mora Kanim said. With Ohio going undefeated in the MAC for two consecutive seasons, the Flashes were tense going into the first two games, Knabe-Paulsen said.

“We had to get over the OU name,” Knabe-Paulsen said. “One big area they’re really good at is keeping the pace fast. We tried to slow them down, but we didn’t really get to do that until the third game.”

Knabe-Paulsen led the Flashes as she grabbed the only double-double of the night with 10 kills and 17 assists on a .400 hitting average. Sophomore Anne Zakelj and senior outside hitter Danielle Holt also contributed offensively with nine and seven kills, respectively.

Defensively, sophomore libero Laura Jensen recorded a match-best 12 digs, while senior setter Anne Butts posted 14 assists.

Ohio held Kent State to .100 hitting while registering .430 hitting and 12 blocks.

The Flashes face off against Eastern Michigan, the leading team in the MAC West Division, at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the M.A.C. Center. They plan to focus on themselves and reduce their own errors and also work on overall execution including passing, serving, hitting and blocking, Knabe-Paulsen said.

Ultimately, the goal is to not lose momentum from last week’s win over Bowling Green and continue executing well, Kanim said.

“I think our team knows that when we play well we’re a very good team and when we don’t, we’re not,” she said. “And that’s like any other team in the universe. So, no, we don’t forget what we did against (Bowling Green), and we’re going to work to do that again on Saturday.”

Contact volleyball reporter Amanda Vasil at [email protected].