Youngstown State senior Jenna Cavanaugh had nine kills and was part of seven of the Penguins' 13.5 blocks in a 3-1 victory at Green Bay on Friday evening. The set scores were 17-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-19.
The Penguins won for the eighth time in 10 matches and improved to 4-2 in Horizon League play. They now sit alone in third place, two games behind Saturday's opponent, Milwaukee. Youngstown State beat Green Bay for the first time since 2008.
Alexis Egler registered a team-high 10 kills, and Erika West tied for match-high honors with 14 digs. Casey D'Ambrose (19) and Jessie Gerig (16) combined for 35 assists, and sophomore Lauren Thompson had perhaps the best match of her career with six kills and four blocks.
Green Bay, which dropped a match behind the Penguins with its 3-3 record, was led by Leah Van Zeeland's 13 kills.
The Phoenix hit .276 in the opening set and jumped out to a 6-1 lead while cruising to victory. YSU got no closer than 6-3, and 9-4 was the last time the margin was five. The Penguins, though, responded in a big way in the second set and essentially flipped roles.
Youngstown State scored six of the first seven points in the second set, and Thompson in on three of those points. The Penguins separated themselves with a 7-2 run that gave them a 17-6 lead. YSU hit .423 in the set, a big step up from minus-.034 in the opener.
Neither team led by more than one in the third set until Green Bay scored four straight points to take a 12-8 advantage. The Phoenix lead was 16-11 when YSU scored seven consecutive points to go up 18-16. Johnson and Ryan combined for a block twice, and Egler had a block to end the run. The Guins did not trail again and fought through ties at 21 and 22 to pull out the 25-22 win. Cavanaugh's kill broke the tie at 22, and she combined on a block with Johnson for the third time in the set on set point.
The lead changed hands five times in the fourth set before a seven-point run by the Penguins put them ahead 18-12. Ryan had two blocks and a kill during the run, her only three points of the set. Green Bay scored the next three points to force a YSU timeout, but the Penguins were able to regroup and pulled away at 25-19.
Youngstown State and Milwaukee will play at 5 p.m. Eastern on Saturday at the Klotsche Center. The match will be streamed live on the Horizon League Network.