Record-Courier staff report
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) to earn the program's first-ever win over a nationally ranked opponent.
"I think everyone needs to know that we're not the same program that we've been in the past," said second-year KSU coach Don Gromala, whose squad was 6-22 a year ago.
The Golden Flashes (9-9, 3-2 MAC), who haven't enjoyed a winning season since 2007, took it to the Bobcats (14-3, 4-1) 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, Kent State 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 22-17 in the fourth set. 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.