Volleyball Hits the Road to Battle Miami, Bowling Green
The Kent State volleyball team can get itself right back into the thick of the Mid-American Conference East Division race when it begins a four-match road stretch by meeting up with Miami Friday (Oct. 8) and Bowling Green Saturday (Oct. 9). The Miami match is scheduled for 7 p.m. while the Bowling Green match will be played at 3 p.m.
The Golden Flashes (8-11, 1-3 MAC) split two home matches against East Division foes last weekend at the M.A.C. Center. KSU earned its first MAC win of the season and put a stop to a three-match losing skid by toughing out a 3-2 triumph over Buffalo last Friday (Oct. 1). Kent State ended up on the wrong side of a five-set match the following day (Oct. 2), though, falling to crosstown rival Akron, 3-2.
Miami (6-11, 1-3 MAC) ended a four-match losing streak and won its first MAC match of 2010, defeating Bowling Green last Thursday (Sept. 30), in a 3-1 road win. The RedHawks had to settle for a weekend split, though, after falling to Northern Illinois in Oxford, Ohio, 3-2, last Saturday.
Bowling Green (6-12, 1-3 MAC) has dropped two in a row after losing to Miami last Thursday and ending up on the wrong side of a 3-0 sweep aga
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
All-Time Series: Miami leads, 50-13.
Last Season: Miami came into Kent and downed the Flashes, 3-1, on Oct. 9, but Kent State countered by sweeping the RedHawks in Oxford, 3-0, on Nov. 14.
Head Coach: Carolyn Condit
2010 Record: 6-11 (1-3 MAC), Fifth East
2009 Record: 17-14 (11-5 MAC), Second East
2010 MAC Preseason Poll Predicted Finish: Second East
BOWLING GREEN FALCONS
All-Time Series: Bowling Green leads, 42-17.
Last Season: KSU downed the Falcons in a 3-0 sweep on Oct. 10 in Kent, but Bowling Green earned a 3-2 win over the Golden Flashes on its home floor on Nov. 12.
Head Coach: Denise Van De Walle
2010 Record: 6-12 (1-3 MAC), Sixth East
2009 Record: 13-20 (5-11 MAC), Sixth East
2010 MAC Preseason Poll Predicted Finish: Fifth East
Junior Liva Brivule (Riga, Latvia) has set the tone for both the offensive and defensive attacks for Kent State. She is pacing the team with 248 kills (3.40 per set), 15 service aces and 77 blocks (seven solo blocks, 70 assisted; 1.05 per set). Her kills per set mark is good for sixth in the MAC while her blocks per set ranks second. Brivule also leads the team with eight double-doubles this season, including two last weekend after totaling 14 kills and 14 digs against the Bulls and 20 kills and 12 digs against the Zips. She also achieved the feat Sept. 25 at Eastern Michigan (12 kills, 11 digs), Sept. 10 vs. Morgan State (15 kills, 10 digs), Sept. 14 at Youngstown State (14 kills, 11 digs), Sept. 17 against Duquesne (22 kills, 11 digs) and Sept. 18 against Louisiana Monroe (11 kills, 11 digs) and Syracuse (20 kills, 14 digs).
JOIN THE CLUB
Brivule isn't the only Flash piling up kills this season. Sophomore Meredith Paskert (Brecksville, Ohio) and junior Maigan Larsen (Lancaster, Wis.) have each posted at least 170 kills this season with Paskert tallying 188 and Larsen chipping in 172.
BLOCK BY BLOCK
Kent State continues to rank among the nation's top blocking teams, moving up two spots in the national rankings to 36th with 2.53 blocks per set. Kent State outblocked Buffalo and Akron by a combined 27-11 and is winning the battle above the net 184.5-108.5 this season. Brivule leads the way in total blocks while three others have posted at least 40 this season, including 52 (four solo, 48 assisted) by senior Celia Sabo (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 45 by Paskert and 42 by senior Lauren Jones (Kentwood, Mich.).
Position flexibility is a big plus for any team, and Kent State is fortunate enough to have three capable setters on its roster. Sophomore Zuzana Markova (Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic) leads the Flashes with 275 set assists. Jones has added 267 while freshman Aleksandra Nowak (Damnica, Poland) has received valuable playing time and tallied 118 set assists.
The start time for Kent State's Oct. 30 match against Central Michigan at the M.A.C. Center has been moved back to 7:30 p.m.
The Golden Flashes take on two MAC West opponents as they continue their road trip, traveling to Toledo next Friday (Oct. 15) and Ball State Saturday (Oct. 16). Both match start times are scheduled for 7 p.m.