The University of Akron volleyball team continued their winning streak as they beat the Ohio University Bobcats Friday.
The win was the first for the Zips against the Bobcats since 2003, and the first time they have beaten them in Athens since 1999.
By defeating the Bobcats in the first set 28-26, the Zips continued the first-set dominance that is quickly becoming a part of their identity.
In the past, the issue that we’ve had with our teams is they would start off the match down five or six points before they got into a groove, Head Coach Ron Arenz said. With this group they understand the urgency of winning the first set.
Ohio responded to Akron’s first set win, coming back to take the second set 25-18 and the third 25-23. The Zips were able to impose their will in the fourth set by holding the Bobcats to a meager .119 hitting percentage while recording an impressive .370 percentage of their own. Akron went on to win the set 25-20. In the fifth and deciding set, UA jumped out to an 11-7 lead, but OU battled back and tied the set at 13-13, prompting Arenz to call a timeout.
One thing I try to do is make sure that our team doesn’t panic, Arenz said. We called that timeout and brought them back to the reality that they should have fun while they’re competing, and they responded well.
Offensively, junior Courtney Jarvis led the way with 14 kills and sophomore Morgan Kuhn continued to lead Akron in assists with 50. Defensively, Jarvis also led the team with 18 digs while junior Tina Dimitrijevs had four solo blocks and three block assists.
The Zips followed up their victory in Athens by traveling to Kent to take on their rivals, the Golden Flashes.
As with the Ohio match, Akron was able to take the first set, winning 25-22. The Golden Flashes came back to beat the Zips in the second set (25-12) and the third (25-22).
Although UA was falling in all phases of the game, they continued to battle, something that was noticed by Coach Arenz.
Some of our teams in the past would have just checked out right then and there, Arenz said, but they stayed steady. We worked on getting back on track and were able to play with no regrets.
Akron was able to defeat Kent in the fourth set 25-22 and force a fifth set. The Zips took control of the set and won it 15-12.
For the first time in her young career, freshman Alex Wiederholt led the team with 15 kills, followed closely by Dimitrijevs with 14, senior Jackie Goleman with 13 and Jarvis with 12. Kuhn continued her solid play by dishing out 35 assists. Sophomore Chelsea Harvey paced the Zips with 20 digs followed by Jarvis with 17, and freshman Alex Cocklin and Kuhn who recorded 16 each.
Harvey was recognized for her hard work by being named the MAC’s East Division Defensive Player of the Week.
With the Zips’ toughest test of the early season behind them, they now look forward to traveling to Buffalo Thursday to take on the Bulls at 7 p.m.
Buffalo played well during tournament play, but has struggled against their MAC opponents, posting a conference record of 1-3.
After facing the Bulls, Akron will return home Saturday to face the University of Toledo Rockets at 7 p.m.
We want to see the fans out there this Saturday, Coach Arenz said. This team is exciting and they play hard. If you want to see a team who is going to fight, come out and see us Saturday.