Flashes Volleyball drops to 0-4 in MAC, look for first conference win in Buffalo

Senior Ashley Makruski, number 16, goes up for a spike during the Ohio University game. The Flashes lost 0-3.

With a 6-3 record just a few weeks ago, Kent State’s volleyball team was off to its best start since 2014.

Since then, the Flashes have only walked away with a victory one time, owning a 7-9 record so far on the season.

On Thursday, Kent State looked to improve their 0-2 MAC record against the Ohio University Bobcats. It was the team’s “Dig for the Cure Match,” but the Flashes couldn’t fight off the Bobcats, losing in straight sets.

The Flashes started off strong on Thursday night inside of the M.A.C Center, quickly grabbing a 7-3 start to the first set, their largest lead of the night. The Flashes lost a competitive first set 25-21 before losing the second and third set 25-16 respectively. 

Kent had seven blocks in the loss, with four of them coming from sophomore Danie Tyson. Ohio University only had four blocks in the match. Sophomore Alex Haffner had 16 assists and junior Natalie Tagala had 14 of the team’s 35.

The Flashes hit the road on Saturday, travelling to Mount Pleasant, Michigan for a match against the first-place Central Michigan Chippewas.

Coming into Saturday’s match, the Flashes were still searching for their first conference victory. Kent’s offense came out strong, stunning the Central Michigan in the opening set. The Flashes posted a stellar .459 hitting percentage in the 25-23 opening set. 

“Everybody was kind of firing on all cylinders,” Coach Don Gromala said of his team’s hot offensive start. “They weren’t happy with how they competed against Ohio so they had a little extra motivation to start the match.”

Kent’s offense was unable to maintain its high efficiency start and the Flashes lost the second set 25-19. Central Michigan was able to edge out a close third set 25-23 and put the Flashes away 25-16 in the fourth set.

With the loss against Central Michigan, Kent fell to 0-4 in the MAC.

Despite the loss, Gromala said he was happy with how his team competed against the first place Chippewas. He was happy to see the Flashes continue to fight against a really good team in that close third set. 

“They’re all really good teams and I’m really impressed with our conference in general,” Gromala said of how the MAC East Division has improved. “ I think every team that we’ve faced is good and every team that we’re going to face is good.”

Up next, the Flashes will be on the road again for two matches. On Friday night, Kent will play the University of Buffalo in New York. It will be a quick turnaround time for the Flashes, who are scheduled to play the conference rival Akron Zips in Akron on Saturday night.

The Bulls of the University of Buffalo own a poor 5-11 record. The University of Akron Zips are 11-4 and remain undefeated in the MAC. 

“Being on the road is tough,” Gromala said. “We’ve been successful on the road, so that brings some confidence into the road trip.”

Contact Nicholas Pedone at [email protected]