Volleyball Wraps Up Non-Conference Action by Hosting Kent State/Mizuno Open
The Kent State volleyball team returns to the M.A.C. Center to close out non-conference play by hosting the third annual Kent State/Mizuno Open this weekend (Sept. 17-18).
The Golden Flashes (6-6) are slated to face off against Duquesne at 6 p.m. Friday (Sept. 17) and battle Louisiana Monroe at noon and Syracuse at 7 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 18). The Warhawks and Orange will open the tournament with a 3:30 p.m. match Friday. Syracuse and Duquesne will meet at 2 p.m. Saturday while Louisiana Monroe squares off with the Dukes at 5 p.m.
KSU (6-6) is looking to build off of a 3-1 victory Tuesday (Sept. 14) at Youngstown State. KSU rallied to defeat the Penguins in four after losing the first set. The comeback was highlighted by the Flashes overcoming a 21-16 deficit in the third set to take the match advantage for good.
The Orange (13-0) were one of only 15 teams in the nation to hold an unblemished mark heading into this week. Syracuse completed its eighth straight sweep and ninth of the season with a 3-0 triumph over Niagara on Tuesday.
Duquesne (9-3) won its third in a row with a 3-0 sweep over cross-town rival Robert Morris on Tuesday.
Louisiana Monroe (0-6) comes to Kent State with an old friend of the Flashes now at the helm. Ernest Vasquez spent two years (2008-09) on the KSU bench as an assistant on head coach Glen Conley's staff. The Warhawks, who lost decisions to Northwestern State, New Orleans and McNeese State in the McNeese State Tournament last weekend, are seeking their first victory of 2010.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
AT THE KENT STATE/MIZUNO OPEN
Friday, Sept. 17
Louisiana Monroe vs. Syracuse, 3:30 p.m.
Duquesne at Kent State, 6 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 18
Louisiana Monroe at Kent State, 12 p.m.
Syracuse vs. Duquesne, 2 p.m.
Duquesne vs. Louisiana Monroe, 5 p.m.
Syracuse at Kent State, 7 p.m.
All-Time Series: Kent State leads, 6-1.
Last Meeting: Kent State swept Duquesne, 3-0, in the Kent State/Mizuno Open on Sept. 19, 2008.
Head Coach: Steve Opperman
2010 Overall Record: 9-3
LOUISIANA MONROE WARHAWKS
All-Time Series: First Meeting.
Head Coach: Ernest Vasquez
2010 Overall Record: 0-6
All-Time Series: Kent State leads, 4-2.
Last Meeting: The Orange defeated the Flashes in a 3-0 sweep on Sept. 10, 2005 in the Green Bay Tournament.
Head Coach: Jing Pu
2010 Overall Record: 13-0
This weekend's tournament marks the third annual Kent State/Mizuno Open. The Flashes are 5-1 all-time in the Kent State/Mizuno Open. Kent State swept past Robert Morris and took down Utah State and Butler in five sets in 2009. The Golden Flashes swept Duquesne and Chicago State before falling to Ohio State in a sweep in '08.
Kent State is overwhelming the opposition at the net, holding a blocking edge of 116.5-66 so far this season. The Flashes entered the week ranked 33rd in the nation in blocks per set with 2.52. Junior Liva Brivule (Riga, Latvia) leads KSU with 50 blocks (five solo, 45 assisted), followed by senior Celia Sabo (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) and sophomore Zuzana Markova (Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic) with 34 (four solo, 30 assisted) and 30 (one solo, 29 assisted), respectively.
JUST SET IT…AND FORGET IT
Senior Lauren Jones (Kentwood, Mich.) has a made a fairly seamless transition from middle blocker to setter. With Conley looking for veteran leadership at the position that often dictates the level of success for a volleyball squad's offense, Jones stepped up to the challenge of moving into a role she had never played before in her volleyball career. She has responded nicely, posting a career match high of 43 set assists against the Penguins just days after starting at setter for the first time in the Cleveland State Invitational. She topped her previous career high of 21 set assists she set last Friday night against Morgan State (Sept. 10) by tallying 35 against the Vikings Saturday (Sept. 11). Her previous best coming into the tournament was six against Providence College (Aug. 27) earlier this season in the Spartan Classic.
MOVIN' ON UP
Senior captain Kristen Barr (Bowling Green, Ohio) needs just one more dig to pass Nancy Winkler (1988-90) on Kent State's individual career records list. Barr has posted 955 digs in her career, including 158 so far this season. Laura Jensen (2004-07) ranks first on the all-time list with 2,167.
MEET THE PARENTS
The Kent State volleyball program will recognize the support of the student-athletes' parents by honoring them prior to Saturday's match against Syracuse.
Kent State begins Mid-American Conference play on the road next weekend, opening at defending champion Ohio next Thursday (Sept. 23) before traveling to Ypsilanti, Mich., Saturday (Sept. 25) to face Eastern Michigan.