West, Cavanaugh Lead Impressive Defensive Effort in YSU's Win Over UIC.
Youngstown -- Erika West recorded the 1,000th dig of her career, and middle blocker Jenna Cavanaugh had a historic day in leading the Youngstown State volleyball team to a sweep of UIC on Saturday at Beeghly Center. The set scores were 25-23, 31-29, 25-20.
West, who transferred to YSU as a sophomore, posted a match-high 22 digs and reached her milestone in the third set. She became the 13th Penguin in school history to record 1,000 digs. Cavanaugh had 10 blocks, which is the most by a Penguin in a three-set match since rally scoring began in 2001.
YSU came into the week leading the Horizon League in blocks but was held to just two on Friday night against Valparaiso. The Penguins responded with 15 blocks against the Flames, which contributed to a .225 to .115 edge in attack percentage. In addition to Cavanaugh's 10 blocks, Nichele Johnson had eight.
Alexis Egler paced the offense with 13 kills on a .312 attack percentage, and Shannon Watson had 10. Cavanaugh was a kill shy of collecting a double-double with nine kills, and Johnson added eight for the Penguins, who are now 11-9 overall and 3-2 in Horizon League play.
Sara Sternard had 15 kills for UIC, which dropped to 6-14 overall and 1-4 in conference play.
YSU had to rally late in the first set, and it had to hold off a Flames rally in the second set before emerging with a pair of two-point victories.
UIC led 22-19 in the first set following one of just three Egler attack errors in the match. A serving error gave the Penguins a side out, and they finished the set by scoring six of the final seven points. Egler had two kills during that final stretch and finished with five during the set.
YSU used another 6-1 run to go up 17-13 in the second set, and the Penguins eventually led 24-21 on a Cavanaugh kill. UIC proceeded to score the next four points to go up 25-24, and the Flames did not trail until a block by Cavanaugh and Johnson put the Penguins ahead 30-29. UIC's Kara Johnson hit wide on the next point to give YSU the 31-29 victory.
UIC's only lead in the third set was at 4-3. The Penguins scored the next three points, and they fought through ties at 10 and 15 before pulling away late.
Youngstown State will travel to Wisconsin next weekend to play Green Bay and Milwaukee. The Penguins and Phoenix will play Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern, and YSU will play the Panthers on Saturday at 5 p.m. Eastern.