Kent State Volleyball Suffers Tough 3-2 Loss to Akron
KENT, Ohio -- A night after earning a five-set victory over a division rival, the Kent State volleyball team ended up on the wrong side of a 3-2 (22-25, 25-12, 25-22, 22-25, 12-15) affair at the hands of Akron today (Oct. 2) in a Mid-American Conference East Division match at the M.A.C. Center.
The Golden Flashes (8-11, 1-3) had three players reach double digits in kills in the loss to the Zips (12-4 (4-0), led by 20 kills by junior Liva Brivule (Riga, Latvia). Brivule posted her eighth double-double of the season and second in as many nights after recording 12 digs as well. Junior Maigan Larsen (Lancaster, Wis.) also achieved a double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs while sophomore Meredith Paskert added 12 kills. Freshman Aleksandra Nowak (Damnica, Poland) led KSU with 50 set assists. Senior Lauren Jones (Kentwood, Mich.) totaled 20 digs, and Paskert and senior Celia Sabo (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) paced the defensive effort.
Akron opened the match with a 12-8 lead in the first set, but the Flashes crept back to within one at 12-11 by capitalizing on kills by Nowak and sophomore Kathy Krupa (Burbank, Ill.) and two errors by the Zips. Kent State tied the set at 17-all with a kill by Brivule and four more errors by Akron. The Zips clawed ahead again to make it a four-point contest at 22-18. Back-to-back kills by Brivule shaved Akron's edge to 22-20. The Zips answered by taking advantage of a kill and an attack error, but KSU again cut its lead to two at 24-22 with a kill by Krupa and a service ace by senior Kristen Barr (Bowling Green, Ohio). Akron didn't allow the Golden Flashes to get any closer, though, taking the 1-0 match lead with a kill.
The second set was all Kent State as the Flashes set the tone early by taking an 8-2 lead courtesy of two kills by Brivule and one apiece from Paskert and Sabo to go along with four Akron errors. Two more kills each for Brivule, Sabo and Larsen plus a service ace from Barr helped Kent State build a 20-10 edge. Five errors and a kill by Brivule sealed Akron's fate and squared up the match.
The Flashes built a 10-6 lead in the third set thanks to two kills apiece by Brivule and Larsen and another by Paskert. Kent State's edge swelled to as many as five twice, but the Zips pulled to within two at 18-16. KSU responded by forcing Akron to call timeout after two straight errors put the Flashes up 20-16. A kill by Paskert and an attack error by Akron put KSU up by five again at 22-17, but a kill by the Zips and a bad set and an attack error by the Flashes cut it down to 22-20. Another bad set put Akron within one at 22-21, but an attack error by the Zips, a kill by Jones and a service ace by Paskert gave Kent State the 2-1 match lead.
Akron refused to quit, though, and took a 5-0 lead the open the fourth. Two kills apiece by Paskert, Brivule and Larsen and one by Sabo closed Akron's lead to 9-8. An 9-4 run by the Zips extended their advantage to 18-12. The Flashes fought back to pull to within three at 20-17 thanks in large part to two kills and a service ace by Nowak. A kill and a service ace put the Zips back up by five at 22-17, but a 4-1 run by KSU sparked by kills by Paskert and Larsen and two errors by Akron forced the Zips to take a timeout clinging to a 23-21 lead. An Akron kill put the Zips on the brink of the set win, but Brivule answered back with a kill. The Zips ensured the match went five sets by retaliating with a kill.
The Flashes went up 3-1 in the deciding set with a kill by Brivule and two errors by the Zips. Akron forced Kent State to talk things over, though, by going on a 5-1 run to go up 6-4. An Akron attack error and a Larsen kill made it square at six-all. The teams traded kills to keep it even at seven-all, but the Flashes went back ahead with another kill by Larsen and one by Paskert to make it 10-7 in Kent State's favor. The Zips did not go away, fighting back to take an 11-10 edge. Kills by Jones and Paskert put the Golden Flashes back up at 12-11, but Akron nailed down the come-from-behind match win with four straight kills.
Kent State begins a span of four straight conference road matches, playing at Miami next Friday (Oct. 8) and at Bowling Green Saturday (Oct. 9). Both matches are slated for 7 p.m.