Flashes Lose Two in Five Sets
CINCINNATI -- The Kent State volleyball came out on the short end of two five-set affairs today (Sept. 4), losing a 3-2 (22-25, 25-14, 24-26, 25-20, 11-15) contest to Murray State and another (25-21, 19-25, 23-25, 25-21, 13-15) to James Madison in the Bearcat Invitational at Fifth Third Arena.
Sophomore Meredith Paskert (Brecksville, Ohio) garnered all-tournament team recognition for the Golden Flashes (4-3), tallying 38 kills in three matches.
Murray State 3, Kent State 2
The Flashes (4-4) lost their second straight match despite senior Liva Brivule (Riga, Latvia) totaling a team season-high 18 kills and three of her teammates joining her in double figures. Junior Maigan Larsen (Lancaster, Wis.) recorded her third straight double-double with 15 kills and 12 digs while Paskert and senior Celia Sabo (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) tallied 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Sophomore Zuzana Markova Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic) registered a team season-high 50 set assists. Senior Lauren Jones (Kentwood, Mich.) led the way of the defensive side and joined Larsen in double digits with 16 digs. Markova and senior Kristen Barr (Bowling Green, Ohio) also hit double figures in digs, contributing 13 and 11, respectively.
Two kills by Sabo, another by Larsen, a service ace by Paskert and two attack errors helped KSU break a nine-all tie and rattle off six straight points to take a 15-9 advantage in the first set. The Racers responded by going on a 10-4 run to tie the set at 18. The schools traded points to knot things up at 22-all but an attack error sandwiched by two MSU kills clinched the set for the Racers.
The Flashes responded with an 11-point triumph in the second set. A kill by Jones tied the set at 8-all and sparked an 18-6 charge that evened the match for Kent State. Brivule highlighted the attack with eight kills.
KSU opened the third stanza with a 5-1 lead thanks to a service ace by Paskert and kills by Brivule and redshirt freshman Jessica Ronyak (Burton, Ohio). Murray State fought back and tied it up at 9, though the teams proceeded to trade blows. With the set tied at 24-all, MSU broke through thanks to a kill and an attack error to go up 2-1.
Kent State forced a fifth set with a five-point win in the fourth in which KSU broke a 16-all stalemate and never looked back. Brivule and Larsen ensured the match went the distance with back-to-back kills to close out the fourth set. Paskert led the way offensively with five kills.
The Flashes tied the deciding set at nine-all thanks to two kills by Larsen and two attack errors by the Racers but never led. MSU clinched the victory on a 6-2 scoring run that was aided by three attack errors and a service error.
James Madison 3, Kent State 2
KSU once again forced a fifth set on an opponent with an inspired fourth set to even the match, but this time it was James Madison playing the part of spoiler as the Flashes skid hit three matches. Paskert (17) and Brivule (14) combined for 31 kills while Larsen posted a career-high 26 digs.
The Flashes took advantage of 14 attack errors by the Dukes in the first set to win by four. Paskert recorded three kills to help put the Flashes up one set.
Paskert continued to provide an offensive spark in the second set with four kills and a service ace. With the set tied at 15-all, though, the Dukes pushed ahead with a 10-4 run to even the match.
It was Brivule's turn to power the Flashes in the third set with five kills and a block assist. KSU and JMU exchanged points until the Dukes snatched a 23-20 advantage. The Golden Flashes refused to go down quietly as Paskert, Jones and Larsen each recorded kills to make it a 24-23 set and force James Madison to take a timeout. The Dukes took the set with a kill, though, to go up 2-1.
The Flashes pushed the match to the brink in the fourth set, again capitalizing on 14 JMU attack errors while Paskert and Brivule each tallied three kills apiece.
It looked as though Kent State was in good shape after going up 11-6 in the fifth thanks to four straight attack errors by the Dukes and three kills by Brivule and a kill and a service ace by Paskert. JMU roared back, though, finishing the match on a 9-2 run to secure the match victory.
Kent State will take part in the Cleveland State Tournament next weekend (Sept. 10-11), taking on Morgan State Friday (Sept. 10) at 4:30 p.m. and George Washington at 10:30 a.m. and the host Vikings at 7 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 11).