Courtesy of Home MAC Athletic Communications Departments
Kent State 3, Ohio 1
Central Michigan 3, Eastern Michigan 0
KENT, Ohio – It was a historic evening at the M.A.C. Center on Thursday as the Kent State volleyball team defeated No. 18 Ohio, 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 25-22). The win marks the first in the program's history over a nationally-ranked opponent. Sophomore Kelly Hutchison was stellar in the victory, posting a career-high 22 kills to lead the Flashes' attack and added nine digs to just miss a double-double.
"I think everyone needs to know that we're not the same program that we've been in the past, that you can't take us lightly, and even when you have a little bit of a lead, we're going to keep fighting until the end."
The Golden Flashes (9-9, 3-2) took it to the Bobcats from the onset. Senior Aleksandra Nowak opened with a pair of aces as the Flashes stormed out to a 5-0 lead and forced a timeout to be called. The early lead was enough as Kent State held off a run by Ohio to take the first set, 25-23.
After dropping the second set, the Flashes regrouped to take the third set in convincing fashion, 25-18. It looked like the match was headed for a fifth set as the Flashes trailed 17-22. However, Kent State responded following a timeout by Gromala to take the next eight points, as freshman Bianca Cifaldi sealed the deal with her fifth kill of the match.
Nowak turned in perhaps the best, and certainly most memorable, performance of her superb career at Kent State. She notched her sixth double-double of the year with 43 assists and 14 digs, while adding three total blocks and three aces. She did a terrific job of putting the ball in places for her teammates to put it away all night long, as a number of Flashes contributed on offense. Junior Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola posted 10 kills and junior Liz Reikow and sophomore Bridget Wilhelm added eight each.
Defensively, Kent State held a 72-61 advantage in digs. Senior Hannah Herc led the way with a match-high 15. Junior Kaylee Koller tallied 10 digs, while sophomore Sarah Mills provided a good contribution off the bench with eight digs in the final two sets. Wilhelm made an impact on the defensive end as well with seven total blocks.
The Flashes are the first team this season not to need the fifth set in defeating the Bobcats, whose only two losses entering the night came at the hands of Top 25 teams.
Kent State will get back on the road with a 7 p.m. contest Saturday at Central Michigan following an off day on Friday.
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – In the battle of two in-state rivals, the Eastern Michigan University volleyball team fell in straight sets to Central Michigan University, 22-25, 20-25 and 21-25, Thursday evening, Oct. 10, at the Convocation Center. The Eagles (11-9, 1-4 MAC) now look at a three match skid, while the Chippewas (8-9, 2-3 MAC) ended a three match losing streak of their own with their victory.
Stacey Perinar (Channohan, Ill.-Minooka Community), Paige Roback (Maumee, Ohio-Notre Dame Academy) and Eric Short (Orrville, Ohio-Orrville) paced EMU with seven kills apiece and Freshman Devon Murray (Shelby, Ohio-Shelby) tallied six kills, recording the best hitting percentage on the night for the Green and White, at .273. As a squad, Eastern struggled, hitting just .122 on 115 attempts, while Central notched a .296 attack percentage.
Defensively, Corynne Smith (Norwalk, Ohio-St. Paul) led the back row with 19 digs, while Roback added eight more. Short posted a team best four blocks, while Megan Crawshaw (Mattawan, Mich.-Mattawan) and Murray each contributed a pair of blocks each.
With the score tied at 22, CMU rattled off three straight points to take set one, 25-22. A trio of Chippewas tallied three kills, and Kelly Maxwell totaled 13 assists. For the Green and White, Perinar recorded five kills with a .250 hitting percentage. Murray, along with seniors Roback and Short, each contributed three kills; the freshman also converted three-of-four attacks for an outstanding .750 hitting percentage. Jill Briner (Oak Park, Ill.-Oak Park and River Forest (Northeastern)) and Alyssa Davis (Kalamazoo, Mich.-Plainwell) split the assists throughout set one with seven apiece.
Central continued its momentum from the end of set on into set two, scoring the first point and holding on to the lead for the entire set. CMU's Katie Schuette found the open area seven times to lead the Chippewas to a 25-20 set two victory, putting the Eagles in an 0-2 hole. CMU recorded a .278 attack percentage while the Eagles struggled, hitting at just a .079 clip. Short, Briner and Crawshaw each added a pair of kills in the frame.
The Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set, but CMU would score 10 of the next 13 points to take a four-point advantage, 10-6. After a timeout by EMU Head Coach Kim Berrington, the Green and White would race back to knot the frame up at 13-13. CMU would build a three point lead, 17-14, forcing Coach Berrington to call another timeout. Once again, the timeout paid off as Eastern scored four-of-five points to regain the lead, 19-18, causing a timeout from the CMU bench. The Chippewas would take advantage of the stoppage in the match, rallying to grab seven of the last nine points to take set three, 25-21, and complete the sweep. Roback notched three kills in the frame, but the offense was in a rut, hitting -.028 on the frame.
The Eagles continue Mid-American Conference play Saturday, Oct. 10, when they host nationally ranked Ohio University. The No. 18-ranked Bobcats come into Ypsilanti after dropping its first MAC match to Kent State University Thursday, Oct. 10. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.