Kent State Volleyball Closes 2011 Season With Dominating Victory Over Buffalo
Larsen, Zeigler go out on top on Senior Night.
KENT, Ohio -- The Kent State volleyball team put together its best match of the season to send seniors Maigan Larsen (Lancaster, Wis.) and Brooke Zeigler (Parkman, Ohio) out as winners, dominating Mid-American Conference East Division foe Buffalo, 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-13), Saturday (Nov. 12) at the MA.C. Center in the final match of the 2011 season.
The Golden Flashes (12-19, 5-11 MAC) closed out their 37th season by winning four of their final five matches, including three straight wins to end the year on a high note and take fourth place in the MAC East. The victory over the Bulls (11-19, 4-12 MAC) ran Kent State's streak in the all-time series to five straight and upped its edge in the series to 20-7.
Kent State's defense suffocated Buffalo's attack. The Flashes piled up 20 blocks (one solo, 19 assisted), limiting the Bulls to a .114 attack percentage and forcing 36 total errors.
Junior Kathy Krupa (Burbank, Ill.) powered Kent State's attack, piling up a team-high 12 kills and posting a .750 hitting percentage while tallying a team-high five blocks (five assisted) on the defensive end. The match marked the 11th time Krupa hit double digits in kills and third time in the last five matches. She also posted five or more blocks for the 13th time and fifth straight match. Sophomore Aleksandra Nowak (Damnica, Poland) directed the passing game with a match-high 32 set assists in addition to matching Krupa's effort above the net with five block assists. Freshman Bridget Grdina (Mentor, Ohio) and freshman Jenny Buczek (Orland Park, Ill.) each reached double figures in digs, tallying 18 and 10, respectively. Grdina reached double figures for the 16th time and sixth straight match.
Kent State set the tone for victory with a nine-point triumph in the opening set. With the opening stanza tied at nine-all thanks in large part to two kills by Krupa and a double block by freshman Lauren Engleman (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Nowak, the Flashes put together a 9-2 run highlighted by kills by freshman Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola (Ellicott City, Md.), Buczek, Krupa and Larsen, a double block by Larsen and Engleman and a service ace by sophomore Hannah Herc (Eden, N.Y.). The run forced Buffalo to call timeout, but the Bulls were unable to stop the Flashes. Kent State outscored Buffalo 6-5 down the final stretch with a service ace by Grdina and kills from Engleman, Aderemi-Ibitola and Krupa.
The Flashes survived a back-and-forth affair in the second set to take a 2-0 match lead. Kills by Krupa, Larsen, Engleman and Buczek and a solo block by Larsen, double blocks by Larsen and Engleman and Krupa and Nowak and a triple block by Nowak, Krupa and Aderemi-Ibitola helped Kent State keep pace with Buffalo and tie the set at 17-all. A kill by Aderemi-Ibitola and a block by Krupa and Aderemi-Ibitola forced Buffalo to burn another timeout trailing 21-18. The Bulls pulled to within one at 23-22, but a kill by Larsen and a Buffalo error nailed down the set win.
It was all Kent State in the third and final frame as Krupa piled up five more kills and Larsen closed out her career a winner by teaming up with Engleman on a double block to end the match with a 12-point set win.
Larsen finished her four-year career at Kent State with 755 kills -- 404 of which came in 2011 and led the team. Zeigler closed out her one season wearing the Blue and Gold ranking third on the squad with 226 digs.