Volleyball Hosts Parents Night, Senior Day This Weekend

YSU Volleyball (Photo by Kyle Kroynovich)
YSU Volleyball (Photo by Kyle Kroynovich)

The Youngstown State volleyball team will begin the second half of its Horizon League schedule this weekend as it hosts a pair of matches at Beeghly Center. The Penguins will face off with Green Bay on Friday at 6 p.m., and they'll play UIC on Saturday at 4 p.m. Both matches will be streamed on WatchESPN/ESPN3, and live stats will be available on YSUsports.com.

YSU will have ceremonies before both matches this weekend. The Penguins will celebrate Parents Night on Friday, and Senior Day will be held on Saturday.

Scouting Report: The Penguins enter this week with a 7-15 overall mark and searching for their first conference win. Youngstown State ended the first loop through league play last week with a four-set loss in Beeghly Center to Wright State on Wednesday, and it was swept at Milwaukee on Saturday. Senior Lauren Blanco is the reigning Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week, and fellow senior Sam Brown needs 20 kills to reach 1,000 for her career. Junior Sarah Varcolla leads the team with 2.65 kills and 1.09 blocks per set.

Brown Closing in on 1,000: Senior Sam Brown is just 20 kills from becoming the 13th player in program history to reach 1,000 kills. Brown entered this season with 826, and she has 154 so far in 2017. The Chicago native had 293 kills as a freshman, 255 as a sophomore and 278 as a junior. Her rate has dipped this season as she has moved from the left side to the right, but her attack percentage is a career-best .221. Brown also has 766 digs in her career.

Blanco Earns League Honor: Senior libero Lauren Blanco is the reigning Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week. Blanco led the conference with 6.43 digs per set in the Penguins' two matches last week. The El Paso, Texas, native had 27 digs in four sets against Wright State, and she followed that with an 18-dig performance in three sets against Milwaukee. Blanco is averaging 5.19 digs per set in Horizon League play, which leads the conference. She is 11 digs shy of 900 for her career, and she could become the 16th player in program history to reach 1,000 career digs.

Six Rotations

  1. Sarah Varcolla is nearing a series of noteworthy career milestones. She is three blocks from 250 in her career and 10 kills from 700 in her career. She is averaging career highs of 1.09 blocks and 2.65 kills per set this season. Last week, Varcolla recorded her 200th kill of the season, giving her at least 200 in each of the first three seasons of her career. She is the ninth Penguin to have 200 kills as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
  2. Margaux Thompson is averaging 3.23 digs and 2.48 kills per set as a freshman. Only two other Penguins freshmen have averaged at least 3.2 digs per set – Laurie Shives in 2007 and Jill Raslevich in 1992. Shives was a libero who averaged 3.74 digs, and Raslevich was a six-rotation player who averaged 4.18 digs and 2.68 kills.
  3. Morgan Tippie had perhaps her best match of Horizon League play on Saturday at Milwaukee. The redshirt junior had eight kills on just 15 attempts while adding three blocks in the three-set contest. Tippie is averaging career highs of 1.42 kills and 0.66 blocks per set in 2017.
  4. Senior Lauren Blanco's 4.44 digs per set is the fourth-best average by a player in program history. Nikki Thompson averaged 4.46 in 2014 and 4.72 in 2015, and Jill Raslevich holds the record with 4.95 per set in 1995. Blanco's total of 342 in 2017 is just outside the top 20 for a season in YSU history.
  5. Sam Brown is one service ace away from becoming the fourth player in program history to reach 130 in a career. She would join Lori Longo (165; 1986-89), Dina Hartman (156; 1987-90), Julie Meese (139; 1986-89) and Jennifer Kathe (133; 1986-89).
  6. Lauren Blanco and Margaux Thompson combine for 7.67 digs per set, which is 52.1 percent of YSU's total as a team. Thompson also passes more than 38 percent of opponent's serves, and she's been successful on an impressive 95 percent of her serve receives. Blanco and Dana Borsz combine to receive more than 41 percent of serves.

Next Week: Youngstown State will begin a three-match road swing on Friday, Oct. 27, at IUPUI. The Penguins will stay on the road to play at Northern Kentucky the following day, and they will play at Cleveland State on Saturday, Nov. 4.