Gimmie Five: Kent State Volleyball Rallies To Soar Past Miami
Golden Flashes improve to 7-2 in five setters in 2011.
OXFORD, Ohio -- The Kent State volleyball team continued to harness magic in five-set matches, rallying to earn a 3-2 (16-20, 20-25, 25-22, 25-15, 15-10) triumph over Mid-American Conference East Division rival Miami Saturday (Oct. 29) at Millett Hall.
The Golden Flashes (9-18, 2-10 MAC) improved to 7-2 in matches that go the distance in 2011. Kent State was just 1-6 in five setters in 2010. The victory over the RedHawks (12-13, 3-8 MAC) put a stop to a six-match losing skid for Kent State. The Flashes have won four of the last five meetings against Miami.
A pair of upperclassmen came up big offensively for Kent State. Junior Kathy Krupa (Burbank, Ill.) led the charge with a match-high 14 kills and seven blocks (three solo, four assisted). She reached double digits in kills for the ninth time this season and totaled more than five blocks for a team-best 10th time. Senior Maigan Larsen (Lancaster, Wis.) posted 13 kills in the victory, reaching double digits for a team-high 16th time in 2011. Sophomore Aleksandra Nowak (Damnica, Poland) directed the passing game with a match-high 40 set assists. Freshmen Bridget Grdina (Mentor, Ohio) and Jenny Buczek (Orland Park, Ill.) led the way on the defensive end, totaling 14 and 11, respectively.
After losing the first two sets by nine and five points, respectively, Kent State fought hard to stay alive with a three-point win in the third. Three kills apiece by Krupa and Nowak and a double block by the duo helped the Flashes keep pace with the RedHawks at 11-all. A 6-3 run highlighted by kills by Krupa and freshmen Lauren Engleman (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola (Ellicott City, Md.) and double blocks by Engleman and Buczek and Engleman and Aderemi-Ibitola helped Kent State take a four-point advantage at 17-13. Miami rattled off four straight points, though, to even the score. The Flashes had just a little bit more down the stretch, though, ending the set with an 8-5 scoring edge. That run was powered by two kills by Krupa and one apiece by Engleman and Buczek.
The Flashes tied the match at two-all with a convincing 10-point victory in the fourth set. Two kills by Larsen and one apiece by Engleman and Buczek helped Kent State tie the set at nine-all. That's as close as Kent State let Miami get, though, as the Golden Flashes surged to a 16-6 run to tie the match -- a stretch that was sparked by nine straight points for Kent State. Three kills by Larsen and double blocks by Nowak and Krupa, Engleman and Aderemi-Ibitola and Larsen and Engleman highlighted push for the set triumph.
With momentum on their side, the Golden Flashes broke a three-all tie in the fifth and deciding set and never relinquished the lead again. Four kills by Larsen, two by Krupa and a double block by Engleman and Nowak helped the Flashes complete the come-from-behind effort.
Three RedHawks reached double figures in kills. Senior Cassie Farrell and junior Lisa Treadway led the team with 13 apiece while junior Christina Menche chipped in 12 to go along with a team-high six blocks (one solo, five assisted). Junior Amy Kendall and freshman Meg Riley distributed the volleyball for Miami, recording 27 and 21 set assists, respectively. Sophomore Madison Hardy led the match with 22 digs.
Kent State looks to continue its winning ways as it wraps up a five-match road trip next Thursday (Nov. 3) with a battle at MAC East Divison rival Ohio. The Flashes return to the friendly confines of the M.A.C. Center Saturday (Nov. 5) for the first time since Oct. 15, hosting MAC West foe Eastern Michigan. Both matches are slated to begin at 7 p.m. Stop by the Athletic Ticket Office in the M.A.C. Center or call (330) 672-2244 for more information.