Volleyball Suffers First Two Defeats of 2017

Heather Splinter (Photo by Jamie Hall)
Heather Splinter (Photo by Jamie Hall)

The Youngstown State volleyball team was handed its first two defeats of the season on Friday at the Glory Road Invitational in El Paso, Texas. The Penguins opened the tournament losing 25-19, 25-20, 25-16 to New Mexico, and they dropped a 25-21, 25-20, 25-19 affair to North Dakota.

Against New Mexico, the Penguins hit .200 in the opening set and .333 in the third set. They committed 11 attack errors and hit negative-.172 in the second set, which was oddly the closest of the three. Sam Brown had nine kills while Margaux Thompson finished with eight kills and a team-high 12 digs.

New Mexico got 13 kills from Hailey Rubino and hit .320 as a team.

UNM's first lead of the opening set didn't come until 16-15, and that was in the middle of a 7-0 run that saw the Lobos go from trailing 15-12 to taking a 19-15 advantage. YSU closed the gap to 20-19 after a Thompson kill, but that was its final point.

YSU's only leads the rest of the afternoon came at 1-0 in each of the final two sets. Even though the Penguins hit .333 in the third, New Mexico countered with a .538 clip, posting 15 kills in 26 attempts.

In the second match of the day, Sarah Varcolla paced the offense with 10 kills, and El Paso native Lauren Blanco led all players with 13 digs. There were 19 ties and eight lead changes in the three sets.

Youngstown State hit .233 as a team, but the Fighting Hawks posted a .322 attack percentage, and Faith Dooley recorded 13 kills in 21 attempts without an error.

The 10th tie of the first set came at 20-20, which was the start of a late four-point spurt for North Dakota that gave it a 25-21 win in the set. A 10-2 burst midway through the second set put the Fighting Haws up 20-12, which they carried to a 2-0 lead in the match. YSU was within 18-17 late in the third before North Dakota closed out the match on a 7-2 stretch.

Youngstown State will conclude play at the Glory Road Invitational on Saturday as it plays host UTEP at 3 p.m. Eastern.