The Youngstown State volleyball team took a two-set lead and fought off a Robert Morris rally to edge the Colonials in five sets on Tuesday evening at Beeghly Center. The set scores were 25-22, 25-23, 18-25, 18-25, 15-11.
The Penguins are now 4-0 for the second time in the last four years, and Robert Morris drops to 1-4.
Sarah Varcolla led the Penguins with 14 kills and seven blocks, and Margaux Thompson posted 13 kills and 14 digs in her home debut. Sam Brown added 10 kills and four aces, and Heather Splinter also had a double-double with 12 digs and 19 assists.
Taylor Lord had match highs with 21 kills and 23 digs to lead Robert Morris.
Youngstown State's first three wins of the season each came in straight sets, and the Penguins narrowly took the first two against the Colonials to take a big lead in the match.
The largest margin for either team in the first set was three, and the Penguins found themselves down 17-14. They scored seven of the next nine points to go up 21-19 after three straight kills, and Thompson had two kills in the final three points as YSU won 25-22.
Robert Morris responded to score the first six points of the second set, and the Colonials still led 11-4 before the Penguins rallied. A Libbie Darling ace closed the game to 12-9, and the Penguins finally tied the score at 17-17. The first YSU lead came when Thompson and Varcolla strung three kills together to make the score 23-21, and another Thompson kill put the Colonials away at 25-23.
Youngstown State built a 7-2 lead in the third as it looked to put the match away quickly, but Robert Morris scored the next seven points to go up 9-7. YSU scored the next four points to go back up 11-9, but that was its final lead of the set. Robert Morris went on a 12-3 run to take a 21-14 lead and won the set 25-18.
Robert Morris built a 9-3 lead early in the fourth and extended its lead to 18-10. Youngstown State gained some momentum that would carry to the fifth set by closing the gap to 19-17, but Robert Morris ended the fourth on a 6-1 spurt.
Youngstown State's only deficit in the fifth set was 1-0, and a Thompson kill sparked a 5-1 run for the Penguins that put them up 5-2. The Colonials tied the score at 10-10, but Morgan Tippie's kill started a mini 3-0 spurt, and YSU went on to score five of the final six points of the match.
YSU will play three matches at the Glory Road Invitational this weekend at UTEP. The Penguins will play New Mexico and North Dakota on Friday before ending the tournament against the host Miners.