Morehead, Ky. -- The Youngstown State volleyball team began its 2017 season with a pair of sweeps, earning three-set wins over Winthrop and Morehead State on Friday at the Eagle Challenge.
While the Penguins did not drop a set in the first day of the season, they won four of the six sets by two points, and one set against each opponent went beyond 25 points. Youngstown State beat Winthrop 28-26, 25-23, 25-16, and the win over Morehead State came with set scores of 25-23, 30-28 and 25-20. Even though both matches were close, the Penguins did not trail by more than three points at any point during the day.
Sarah Varcolla was YSU's top attacker in both matches, finishing with nine kills in 19 attempts against Winthrop and 10 kills in 26 swings versus Morehead State. She added five aces, and the Penguins were solid as a group from the service line throughout the day with 10 aces in the win over Winthrop and nine more against Morehead State.
Freshman Marketa Plesingrova matched Varcolla with 10 kills against the Eagles, and she had seven kills with three aces in the opener. Sophomore Erin Kalahar had five blocks in both matches in her first career starts in the middle, and Lauren Blanco posted 24 digs on the day from the libero position.
Youngstown State rallied from a 23-20 deficit in the first set of the day to come from behind and beat Winthrop 28-26. Another two-point edge followed in the second set, and the Penguins did not trail in a 25-16 win in the third.
Against Morehead State, YSU was not behind in the match until the Eagles went ahead 26-25 in the second set. MSU's only other lead of the night came at 28-27, but two straight points by Varcolla and an Eagle attack error put the Penguins up a pair of sets. Youngstown State closed out the night by outscoring Morehead State 7-3 down the stretch to take the third set 25-20.
The Penguins will try to go undefeated on the weekend when they take on Delaware State on Saturday morning at 11:30.