Something a miss for the Flashes

Amanda Vasil

KSU beats Buffalo, but struggles in 3-1 loss to Akron

Freshman Lindsey Skorupan cheers after the Akron’s serve was trapped into the net during the home game Saturday night at the M.A.C. Center. Kent State lost the game 1-3.

Credit: Jason Hall

Senior Danielle Holt (6) spikes the ball against Akron players Brittany Sovran (10) and Rachael Rush (13) during the home game Saturday night at the M.A.C. Center. Kent State lost the game 1-3.

Credit: Jason Hall

Something was missing from the Kent State volleyball team this weekend.

The court was in place and all the players showed up, but the defensive edge was nowhere to be found.

The Flashes started Mid-American Conference play over the weekend, going 1-1 against Buffalo and Akron. While the weekend began on a high note, with the Flashes (5-8, 1-1 MAC) beating Buffalo three games to one, Kent State struggled mightily on defense in a loss to Akron.

Kent State coach Mora Kanim said the team blocked and dug well during the match against Buffalo but dropped the ball the following night against Akron (6-8, 1-1 MAC), winning the first match 30-22 yet falling in the last three 30-25, 30-27, 30-19.

“Akron started tipping on us a lot,” Kanim said. “We got frustrated by that instead of making adjustments and going after the ball. That was the turning point.”

In its conference opener Friday against Buffalo (7-6, 0-1 MAC), Kent State lost the first match 30-19, but took the final three with scores of 30-18, 30-27 and 30-14 at the M.A.C. Center.

Senior setter Anne Butts registered the 31st double-double of her career with 36 assists and 15 digs. Sophomore Laura Jensen posted a match-best 24 digs, while junior Sarah Wilber had a team-best four blocks.

Unfortunately for the Flashes, the momentum didn’t carry over to Saturday’s match up with Akron.

The Flashes started the match strong with Holt posting 10 kills on .474 hitting and a team total of 16 defensive digs to the Zips’ 10. After the first match, the team’s defensive play fell apart and it showed in the remainder of the matches.

Although Jensen and Vaiva Laniauskas posted 14 and 10 digs, respectively, and Wilber registered five blocks, including one solo, their efforts didn’t match those of the Zips.

Overall, Kanim said she felt the biggest letdown of the match was the Flashes’ defensive play.

“We didn’t do a very good job of working together to defeat a common opponent,” Kanim said. “Akron played good defense, and I thought that frustrated us, and we weren’t able to respond with good defense of our own. That was the difference of the match.”

Offensively, Holt nabbed her sixth double-double of the season with 27 kills and 13 digs, while Wilber contributed to hitting with 15 kills. Butts tallied 47 assists and Anja Knabe-Paulsen followed with 10.

This week, Kanim said she plans to work hard on offensive and defensive collaboration as well as serving.

“We need to make a collective decision to be more intent on playing better defense,” Kanim said.

The Flashes travel this weekend to Ohio to take on the Bobcats at 7 p.m. Friday and Central Michigan at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Contact volleyball reporter Amanda Vasil at [email protected].