Akron, Ohio -- The Youngstown State volleyball team continued to show its resiliency but lost to Akron in four sets in the championship match of the Zips Invitational on Saturday at James A. Rhodes Arena.
The Penguins lost two of the three sets in overtime, dropping the first 28-26 and the third 30-28. YSU won the second set 25-20 and lost the fourth 25-17. YSU saw its eight-match winning streak come to a close and dropped to 8-3 on the season. Akron improved to 5-4 and went undefeated this weekend at its tournament.
YSU got a match-high 19 kills and 11 digs from all-tournament team selection Missy Hundelt, and fellow all-tournament team honoree Alexis Egler posted 11 kills and 12 digs. Hundelt averaged 3.38 kills and 2.62 digs per set while posting a .287 attack percentage in three matches in Akron. Egler hit an efficient .316 while averaging 2.54 kills and digs.
Alex Cocklin had 18 kills for Akron, which had 14 more terminations than the Penguins. YSU, though, outhit the Zips .217 to .199 and registered six more blocks.
YSU led 5-1 in the first set after an Egler kill, but Akron went on a 7-2 run to go up 8-7. Neither team led by more than two until Morgan Kuhn's ace gave the Zips a 20-18 lead, and Akron extended its lead to 23-19. Akron led 24-22, but YSU fought its way back and earned a set point of its own when Egler's kill made the score 26-25. Akron, though, got back-to-back kills to set up Chelsea Harvey's set-winning ace.
The Penguins scored the first eight points of the second set, but they had to hold on late as Akron rallied to tie the score at 14-14 and eventually take an 18-17 lead. From that point, the Penguins closed out the set on an 8-2 run. A Kuhn service error allowed YSU to tie the score, and back-to-back- kills by Hundelt started the Guins' rally. Hundelt also had a kill to make the score 24-20, and Harvey had an error at set point.
Akron led 19-13 in the third before YSU mounted another rally. The Penguins got within 20-18 after a 5-1 run, and an error by Cocklin allowed YSU to tie the score at 23-23. A block by Shannon Watson and Nichele Johnson gave the Guins a 25-24 lead, but Akron scored the next two points and never trailed again. Akron's 26th kill of the third set gave it a 30-28 victory.
Akron scored the first four points in the fourth set and never trailed. YSU tied the set at 5-5, but Akron scored the next five points and led by at least two the rest of the way.
Youngstown State will complete its non-conference schedule next weekend with three matches at the UNC Greensboro Spartan Spiketacular. The Penguins will play Morehead State, UNC Greensboro and UNC Wilmington in the tournament.