Flashes Fall to Rockets in MAC Tournament
TOLEDO, Ohio -- The ninth-seeded Kent State volleyball team lost to eighth-seeded Toledo, 3-1 (22-25, 16-25, 25-16, 21-25), and was eliminated in the first round of the 2010 Mid-American Conference Tournament today (Nov. 16) at Savage Arena.
Liva Brivule (Riga, Latvia) and sophomore Meredith Paskert (Brecksville, Ohio) led the Golden Flashes (13-19, 6-10 MAC) with 11 kills apiece. Freshman Aleksandra Nowak (Damnica, Poland) posted 43 set assists and achieved a double-double with 10 digs. Senior Celia Sabo (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) tallied five blocks (five assisted) while senior Kristen Barr (Bowling Green, Ohio) posted 24 digs in their final matches as Golden Flashes. Senior Lauren Jones (Kentwood, Mich.) just missed out on a double-double with nine kills and eight digs.
The Rockets (12-16, 6-10 MAC) began the first set with a 15-9 lead. It looked as though Toledo might cruise to the set win, but Kent State wasn't about to give in. Jones got the rally started with a kill, then two more kills by Paskert and one by sophomore Kathy Krupa (Burbank, Ill.) pulled the Flashes within four at 19-15. Kills by Jones and Brivule and a double block by Krupa and Nowak cut Toledo's advantage to two at 21-19 and forced the Rockets to call timeout. Toledo extended its lead to 24-20, but a solo block by Jones and a double block by Krupa and Nowak put the Golden Flashes within two points again at 24-22. That's as close as the Flashes got, though, as Toledo went up 1-0 in the match with a kill.
The two squads went back-and-forth to begin the second set. Three kills by Paskert and a service ace by Jones helped Kent State keep things evened up at 10-all, but the Rockets broke through for a 14-11 lead. Toledo closed the set on an 11-5 run to extend its match lead to 2-0.
Kent State refused to go down without a fight in the third set. The Flashes took control early on with three kills by Jones and two by Paskert to go up 10-7. Kent State extended its lead to five at 18-13 and forced a Toledo timeout after two kills by Krupa and one apiece by Sabo, Brivule, Nowak and Paskert. The break did not slow down Kent State as the Flashes made it a 2-1 match courtesy of two kills by Brivule, a service ace by Nowak and double blocks by Paskert and Sabo and Brivule and Sabo.
The fourth set certainly did not lack for drama. Kent State took a 10-8 edge to open it thanks in large part to two kills and a service ace by Paskert and another service ace by Barr. The Rockets came back to tie the set at 13-all, then went up 18-16. A kill by Brivule and an attack error by the Rockets evened the score again at 18-all. The Flashes took a timeout after Toledo went back up by three at 21-18, but kills by Sabo and Jones helped put the Flashes back within one at 22-21. Kent State did not get any closer, though, as the Rockets rattled off three straight points to advance.
Barr, Jones and Sabo depart Kent State having left an imprint on the school's record book. Sabo finished her career ranking sixth with 290 career total blocks, passing up Ashley Feutz (289, 2004-08) with her effort against the Rockets. Jones finishes her career fifth with 1,150 digs, just behind two-year captain Barr, who ranks fourth with 1,217.