Written by: Parker Perry
The University of Akron volleyball team continued a trend over the weekend.
After falling in their first match in Athens, Akron evened out their Mid-American Conference record by sweeping arch-rival Kent State at KSU.
It was the third weekend in a row that the Zips finished a weekend 1-1; they have a 3-3 MAC record after six games. The Zips have now played every MAC East foe once, and their record lands them in third place in the conference. The Zips will now play the remaining four MAC West teams that they have not played yet, and will go around the East one more time. They are aiming for their first Mid-American Conference tournament berth in two years.
If the season ended today, they would clinch a tie for the seventh seed. The top eight make it in.
Akron started their weekend against Ohio University. Ohio is considered one of the top volleyball teams in the league, and had won the Mid-American Conference tournament three straight years before missing out last season. The OU Bobcats swept the Zips. Much like their previous match against Bowling Green, Akron was able to keep each set close. At one point, the Zips held an 18-13 advantage. But Ohio, behind a loud crowd, was able to pull off the comeback and defeat the Zips 25-23.
Akron then fell by their largest margin of the match in the third set, likely due to the disappointment of the previous one.
But their disappointment did not last the weekend. Facing their arch-rival Kent State, Akron came into the MAC Center on the campus of Kent State and swept the Golden Flashes. Head coach Ron Arenz said after the game that the victory was a great one for his program.
“Coming out as strong as we did in a big rivalry game like this, I couldn’t be prouder of our team,” Arenz said. “We executed our serve receive extremely well, and the speed of play was just where it needed to be to get a crucial win like this.”
In each set, the Zips ran out to an early lead and were able to hold off a late attack by Kent State. In the first set, the Zips led 15-9 before seeing their lead evaporate to 16-14. They finished the set with a 25-19 win. Then, the Zips started off the third set on fire. They jumped out to an early 12-2 lead before Kent made it close. However, with two chances to close it out, the Zips successfully brought home the winning set 25-23.
Akron will next face Western Michigan and Northern Illinois on the road.