Flashes still trying to put it together

Amanda Vasil

Danielle Holt spikes the ball during a home game against Toledo Friday night at the M.A.C. Center. Kent State lost 3-2.

Credit: Jason Hall

While improving on team cohesion and game skills can show team growth, it doesn’t always guarantee a win.

Such is the case with the Kent State volleyball team.

In a weekend filled with numerous tied scores, lead changes and serving runs, the Flashes dropped a 3-2 decision against Toledo (11-6, 4-1 Mid-American conference) Friday and were not able to recover to defeat Ball State (10-5, 4-2 MAC) Saturday.

The Flashes recorded their first five-game match of the season against Toledo Friday. Kent State took the first game 30-23, fell in the second and third games with scores of 30-26 and 30-22, recovered in game four with 30-25, but fell to the Rockets with a 15-9 end.

Senior outside hitter Danielle Holt grabbed her eighth double-double of the season with 20 kills and 12 digs, while also posting four service aces. Senior setter Anne Butts tallied 47 assists and 12 digs, also registering a double-double.

Defensively, sophomore Laura Jensen recorded a match-best 21 digs, while junior Sarah Wilber and freshman Krista Groce registered three blocks apiece, including three solo stops from Wilber.

After close scores in Friday night’s match, the Flashes failed to recover to pull out with a win on Saturday, resulting in a 3-0 sweep with scores of 30-16, 30-28, 30-20.

Holt led Kent State’s offense with 13 kills, as well as contributing defensively with seven digs and two solo blocks. Butts finished with seven digs and 33 assists, while Jensen recorded 14 digs.

Also adding to the match were Wilber with eight kills and two service aces, senior Katie Mang with six digs and sophomore Anne Zakelj with seven kills.

Ball State’s quick offense and well-adjusting defense held the Flashes to .079 hitting and four total match blocks.

“Their (Ball State) offense was fast, so our blockers had a harder time getting up there, which made it harder for our defense to get to their spots,” said redshirt freshman Vaiva Laniauskas.

Although the Flashes struggled with individual errors, they were able to come together as a team to better their team play, Laniauskas said.

“We never got on each other,” she said. “We were a team. We backed each other up, and we had each other’s back the whole game and stayed positive.”

The Flashes hope to continue working on playing as a team and bringing all strong elements together to tally more wins to their record, Laniauskas said.

“Our execution needs to be better and we need to be able to put the ball down. There’s not any one specific skill that needs work, it’s just putting everything together,” she said. “It’s putting each step together so that the final result is positive.”

The Flashes will begin the second half of their season on the road this weekend against league rivals Akron on Friday and Buffalo on Saturday.

Contact volleyball reporter Amanda Vasil at [email protected].