Volleyball drops frustrating 5-set match to Ohio

Kent State volleyball coach Don Gromala sounded frustrated as he recounted his team’s five-set loss to Ohio Wednesday night.

“It was tough,” Gromala said. “It was a good battle, but we just couldn’t finish it out. We did some really good things. Unfortunately we gave away too many points, and that’s it.”

The match was close throughout. Ohio won the first set 25-22 but never led by more than four points. KSU won the second 25-21 but never led until its 22nd point. The Bobcats took the third 25-17, the Flashes the fourth 25-19.

The two teams were tied 7-7 in the fifth set, but OU pulled away to beat Kent State 15-11. 

“It just came down to the last few points,” junior opposite hitter Morgan Copley said. “But I’m really proud of my team and how hard we pushed through.”

The Flashes topped OU in hitting percentage, .236 to .221. 

Senior opposite hitter Melissa Kolurbasi and junior outside hitter Savannah Matthews led the team in kills with 13. 

Senior libero Erin Garnder passed a season-high 32 digs.

Copley played her first game since Sept. 18 against Duquesne after suffering from a lower-back injury. She totaled 12 kills and posted a .435 hitting percentage. 

Despite her team’s loss, Copley said it feels “great to be back.”

“It was hard sitting out on the sidelines,” Copley said. “I’m happy to be back on the court and be able to make an impact.”

KSU and Ohio, who meet again in their final regular-season game on Nov. 17, are battling for the sixth and final spot in the Mid-American Conference tournament that will take place Nov. 21-24. Ohio is now 5-4 in the conference (5-14 overall) while Kent State is 4-5 (9-12).

Akron, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan are all a game behind KSU at 3-6.

Bowling Green leads the league at 9-0. Ball State is second at 8-1. Western Michigan is third at 7-2 and Toledo is fourth at 6-3.

Going forward, Copley said her team needs to remain aggressive.

“When the game starts getting tight, we need to keep pushing forward,” Copley said. “We can’t let anything rattle us.”

The Flashes play 11th-place Buffalo (2-7 MAC) this weekend, then Northern Illinois the next weekend.

“Wednesday was a big matchup on momentum,” Gromala said. “Now we’re focusing on our next opponents and how we can get better from here.” 

Isabella Schreck is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].