The Youngstown State volleyball team will start arguably its toughest stretch of the non-conference season this weekend with four matches in three days against teams with a combined record of 19-6. The stretch starts with a match at the Illini Classic on Thursday against undefeated Arizona State in Champaign, Ill. The Penguins will then travel to St. Louis for the Billiken Challenge on Friday and Saturday against Bradley, Saint Louis and Miami (Ohio). Live stats for all four matches will be available through YSUsports.com.
The Penguins are coming off a weekend where they were disappointed by a 1-2 showing at the YSU Invitational. Youngstown State beat Saint Francis U in four sets to start the tournament but followed the victory up with a four-set loss to Tulane and a five-set loss to Toledo. The Penguins had a 1-0 lead and a seven-point advantage in the second set on Tulane before the match turned. They also beat Toledo handily in two sets but fell in five. Senior Missy Hundelt, a native of St. Louis suburb St. Charles, recorded her 1,000th career kill against the Rockets. The 1-2 weekend for YSU evened its record at 3-3 in the young season.
Arizona State (6-0), the first Pac-12 opponent ever on YSU's schedule, ranks just outside the AVCA coaches poll with the 27th-most votes. Bradley has a 5-1 record, Saint Louis is 3-4 and Miami (Ohio) is 5-1. The Penguins have also never played Bradley or Saint Louis, and they have played the RedHawks just once since 1978.
Youngstown State will play at Bowling Green on Sept. 17 before its final non-conference tournament at Saint Francis U on Sept. 21.
@YSUVolleyball Quick Hitters
- Missy Hundelt is a St. Charles, Mo. native was a First-Team All-Missouri pick twice in her career at Orchard Farm High. She led the St. Louis area in kills in digs as a senior
- Hundelt became the 11th Penguin in school history to reach 1,000 kills on Sept. 7. She currently has 1,005 in her career, the most among all active Horizon League players.
- Preseason Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year Jenna Cavanaugh is one block away from 250 for her career.
- YSU has not played any team from the Pac-12 in volleyball. Its last competition against any team from the conference was at UCLA in men's basketball in 2007.
- Mark Hardaway is in his second season as YSU's head coach. Last year he led the Penguins to a 15-14 record, their best since 1999.
Recapping the YSU Invitational
- YSU defeated Saint Francis U (Pa.) in the first match of the tournament in four sets behind a balanced an efficient offense. The Penguins hit a season-best .338 against the Red Flash, and Alexis Egler's 14 kills led three players with double digit kills. YSU also had 10 blocks in the match, six of which Aly Ryan was part of in just two sets. YSU hit .529 with 18 kills and no errors in 34 attempts in the fourth set.
- YSU beat eventual tournament champion Tulane 25-18 in the first set and held a 14-7 lead in the second. The Green Wave scored five straight points to get within two and eventually took a 21-19 lead. YSU reclaimed the advantage and led 23-21 before allowing Tulane to score the final four points of the set. Tulane won the final two sets 25-18 and 25-22. Egler finished with 14 kills and 14 digs, and Missy Hundelt had a solid all-around match with 13 kills, six blocks and 19 digs. YSU had 12 serving errors in the match.
- While the Penguins lost 3-2 to Toledo, Hundelt's 1,000th career kill came in the second set of the match. After YSU dropped the first set 25-22 – despite hitting .294 – Hundelt carried the Penguins to a 25-17 victory in the second set. Her 1,000th kill was her 14th of the match, and it came in just two sets. Hundelt had 16 kills in her first 27 attempts of the match and finish with 19 kills and four errors on 44 attempts. She added 16 digs to earn all-tournament team honors.
Scouting The Opponents
- Arizona State is 6-0 without losing a set and is receiving the 27th-most votes in the AVCA coaches poll. Sophomore OH Macey Gardner is averaging 5.94 kills per set on a .367 attack percentage, and the Sun Devils are averaging nearly five more digs than their opponents.
- Bradley is 5-1 with its lone loss to UT-Martin on Aug. 31. Amy Angelos is averaging 3.61 kills on a .399 attack percentage, and Lauren Zerante is averaging 5.48 digs. The Braves were picked to finish eighth in the Missouri Valley preseason poll.
- Saint Louis is 3-4 after a 3-0 loss at Southern Illinois on Tuesday. Mallory Dillon leads SLU with 3.86 kills per set, and Anna Church is averaging 4.82 digs per set. The Billikens were picked to finish third in the Atlantic-10 preseason poll.
- Miami (Ohio) is 5-1 following a 3-0 loss to Xavier on Tuesday. Jenny Ingle is hitting .415 with 3.19 kills per set, and Paige Hill is averaging 2.30 blocks over 10 sets. The RedHawks were picked to finish third in the MAC East division.
Hundelt Joins the 1,000th Kills Club
- YSU senior Missy Hundelt became the 11th player in school history to reach 1,000 career kills on Sept. 7 against Toledo.
- Hundelt's 1,005 career kills currently ranks tied-for-ninth in school history. If she matches her average total from the past two seasons, she'll finish her career with the fourth-most kills in school history.
- Hundelt was one of three players in school history to have 900 kills after her junior year.
- Hundelt also has 844 digs in her career. Only four players in school history have surpassed 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs, the most-recent accomplishing the feat in 1999.
- Youngstown State has played without starter Shannon Watson and setter Jessie Gerig through the first two weeks of the season.
- Watson can play either in the middle or at either pin. She averaged 2.37 kills on a .247 attack percentage and 0.78 blocks last season. She is out with a muscle pull in her abdomen.
- Gerig is a sophomore transfer (Broward College), but her return could help the Penguins run a 6-2 offense that coach Mark Hardaway prefers. The Penguins employed two setters at some point in 28 of their 29 matches last season, but they've gone with a 5-1 offense during the first six matches of the season with Casey D'Ambrose as the lone active setter.