Youngstown -- The Youngstown State volleyball team hit .287 as a group and had four players register at least nine kills in a four-set victory (25-15, 25-20, 25-27, 25-20) over Kent State on Tuesday evening at Beeghly Center.
Missy Hundelt had nine of her 12 kills in the final two sets, and Alexis Egler and she combined for 10 kills in YSU's 25-20 victory in the fourth set. Shannon Watson added 12 kills on a .417 attack percentage, Egler finished with 10, and Nichele Johnson registered nine. Hundelt and Egler both finished with double-doubles, and Erika West tied Hundelt with a match-high 13 digs. Hundelt's first kill actually did not come until the 22nd point of the second set.
The Penguins defeated their closest rival for the first time since 1995 in what was just their fourth meeting since that year. YSU has also beaten Akron, Kent State and Cleveland State in the same season for the first time in school history. Add in a victory over Robert Morris, and Youngstown State has wins over four opponents within 70 miles of campus.
YSU held Kent State to a minus-.029 attack percentage in the opening set despite having just one block. The Golden Flashes had 11 attack errors in the set, and YSU led the rest of the way after going up 4-3. YSU opened up an 8-3 lead, and it went on an 11-1 run behind the serves of West and Casey D'Ambrose once Kent State closed to within one. That gave the Guins a 20-9 lead, and they finished off the set at 25-15.
The Penguins hit a match-best .387 in the second set but had to fight through 10 ties and three lead changes before pulling away. Johnson and Jenna Cavanaugh had kills in the midst of a 4-0 run that turned an 11-10 deficit into a 14-11 lead, and YSU led the rest of the way. Cavanaugh and Hundelt had a block when the score was 19-17 to start a four-point run, and Hundelt finished off the set with a kill.
YSU led 12-7 in the third set after a Johnson kill, and the lead was still five at 17-12 before the Golden Flashes rallied. Kent State scored seven of the next nine points to tie the set at 19, and it fought off two match points before pulling off the 27-25 victory.
The Golden Flashes then took a 10-7 lead in the fourth set before YSU pulled ahead with a 5-1 run. Watson and Hundelt started the run with kills, and Hundelt and Aly Ryan combined for blocks on back-to-back points to give the Penguins an 11-10 lead. YSU did not trail again, and it scored four of the final five points of the match to separate late. The Penguins had 17 kills in the set, with the last seven points each coming on kills.
Youngstown State has nothing but Horizon League matches left on its schedule, starting with a contest at Oakland on Friday at 5 p.m.