Flashes volleyball beats Youngstown 3-2 in scrappy match

Nicholas Pedone

The Kent State women’s volleyball team traveled to Youngstown Tuesday evening for a weekday match against the Youngstown State Penguins.

Coming in, both the Flashes and the Penguins had a record of 4-2 to start the season. In a gritty five-set match, Kent was victorious over Youngstown 3-2.

Kent had to dig themselves out of a deep hole to win the match. The Flashes lost the first set 25-20 before losing the second set 25-23. Despite falling behind early, there was no quit from the Flashes on Tuesday as they won three straight sets to take the match.

“I think it was a gutsy win. It was a great fight again, coming back,” coach Don Gromala said. “We showed a lot of heart and a lot of fight there.”

Freshman Morgan Copley led the way for Kent’s offense with 18 kills in the match. She also had two of Kent’s seven blocks.

Despite leaving Youngstown with a comeback victory, Gromala refused to ignore the fact that his team has issues to clean up.

“Overall, we know this is not our style of volleyball,” he said. “We need to get a little bit cleaner with our offense.”

After the match, Gromala told the team that they need to be better with ball control and keeping the ball in play. He also said he wanted to see his team play smarter. 

The scrappiness and determination of Kent State’s volleyball team was on display for the second time this week with another comeback victory. On Friday night, the Flashes came back from behind to defeat Valparaiso University at home. 

“Momentum becomes such a huge part of this sport. That’s what makes it so exciting,” Gromala said. 

He added that having Friday night’s comeback victory under their belts made it easier for the Flashes to come back against Youngstown State, especially being on the road.

After Tuesday’s win over the Penguins, sophomore Erin Gardner became the NCAA leader in digs with 156 so far this season. She had 30 in Tuesday’s victory. Gromala said the Flashes set up their defense around Gardner and that she has done a good job of making big plays, keeping the ball off the floor and seeing the game really well overall. 

Over the upcoming weekend, the Flashes will travel to West Point, New York for the Black Knights Invitational. They will play Binghamton University, Bryant University and Army West Point.

Nicholas Pedone is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].