Flashes Battle Back, Survive Five To Send Penguins Packing
Krupa leads never-say-die effort with 16 kills, five blocks.
KENT, Ohio -- The Kent State volleyball team proved that finishing is the only thing matters, fighting back to survive a five-set affair with Youngstown State, 3-2 (18-25, 25-23, 25-16, 18-25, 15-9) Tuesday (Aug. 30) in the squad's 2011 home opener at the M.A.C. Center.
The Golden Flashes (3-2) ran their winning streak to two with the triumph over the Penguins (0-4) and won their second five setter in three tries this season. That total already exceeds the 2010 team's mark in five-set matches; Kent State was just 1-6 in five setters last season. The Flashes also won their home opener for the second straight season.
The veterans once again sparked a victory for Kent State. Junior Kathy Krupa (Burbank, Ill.) tallied 16 kills and five blocks (two solo, three assisted) to lead the attack. Senior Maigan Larsen (Lancaster, Wis.) posted her fourth double-double in five matches, totaling 15 kills and 11 digs. Sophomore Hannah Herc (Eden, N.Y.) also reached double digits in kills, collecting 10. Sophomore Aleksandra Nowak (Damnica, Poland) directed the offense with 49 set assists, while freshman Bridget Grdina (Mentor, Ohio) contributed 10 digs on the defensive end.
Youngstown State jumped out to early match lead with a seven-point win in the opening set, hitting .391 and limiting the Flashes to a .032 clip in the opening stanza.
Kent State responded by eking out a two-point win in the second set to tie the match. With the set knotted at 22-all, two kills by Larsen and a bad set by the Penguins provided Kent State with the winning margin.
The Flashes rolled to a nine-point victory in the third set to take a 2-1 match lead, but Youngstown State fought back with another six-point triumph in the fourth to force a deciding fifth set.
Kent State rose to the occasion, using two kills by Krupa, one by Larsen and a service ace by freshman Lauren Engleman (Cincinnati, Ohio) to race to a 7-3 advantage. Youngstown State went on a 3-0 run to cut Kent State's lead to one and force a timeout. After trading sides of the net and points, Kent State padded its edge for good by closing the match on a 6-1 run that was highlighted by three kills by Larsen and one by Nowak. Despite the poor hitting and defense in the first set, Kent State wound up outhitting the Pens .248-.185.
The Flashes take to the road again this weekend (Sept. 3-4), traveling to Long Island, N.Y., to take part in the Stony Brook Holiday Inn Express Tournament. The Flashes take on the host Seawolves Friday at 7 p.m. and are slated to face Rhode Island and Iona Saturday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.