Freshman Margaux Thompson posted a double-double to lead a balanced effort by the Youngstown State volleyball team, but the Penguins fell in four sets to Northern Kentucky on Friday evening at Beeghly Center. The set scores were 22-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-22.
Thompson finished with 14 kills and 15 digs, and she was one of five Penguins who registered at least eight kills in the match. Fellow freshman Marketa Plesingrova had 11 kills, Sarah Varcolla and Morgan Tippie each had nine, and Erin Kalahar posted eight. Varcolla added a match-high eight blocks, and Lauren Blanco had 24 digs, eight more than any other player.
Haley Libs led Northern Kentucky with 21 kills and 15 digs.
The match featured 26 ties, and the third and fourth sets were tight throughout.
Libbie Darling had three aces during a 6-0 run by the Penguins in the opening set that put them ahead 22-14. NKU closed the gap to 24-22 before a Thompson kill ended the set, but the Norse carried the momentum into the second set. YSU's largest lead the rest of the night was two.
NKU led just 10-9 in the second set after a Plesingrova kill but went on a 7-1 burst to seize control. The Norse then built a 10-6 lead in the third, but YSU didn't let them pull away. YSU got within one seven different times before a Thompson kill tied the score at 18-18. Varcolla's third and fourth blocks of the set gave the Penguins leads at 22-21 and 23-22, but NKU scored the final three points of the set to take a 2-1 lead.
YSU led 7-5 after a Thompson kill in the fourth, and YSU's final lead was 9-8 after a Plesingrova kill. The score was within a point until NKU led 16-14, and the Norse held a 23-18 advantage before the Penguins made one last charge. YSU scored four straight points and got within 23-22 on a block by Darling and Varcolla. Laura Crawford's kill gave NKU match poing, and Kaelin Gentile finished the match with a kill.
Youngstown State will host IUPUI on Saturday at 4 p.m.