2015 Volleyball Season In Review

The Penguins celebrate a win over Saint Francis U. (Photo by Trevor Parks)
The Penguins celebrate a win over Saint Francis U. (Photo by Trevor Parks)

The Youngstown State volleyball team finished up its most-successful four-year stretch in 14 years with a large collection of team and individual highlights in 2015.

Team Highlights

  • YSU began the season by setting the school record for aces in a five-set match with 16 against Bradley. The Penguins went on to average 1.55 aces per set, which was the most by the team since 2005. Their 177 total aces were the most since the 2001 team posted 190.
  • The Penguins also set a school record for a three-set match on Sept. 4 when it registered 17 total blocks at Pittsburgh.
  • The Penguins posted 30 block assists at home against UIC on Oct. 16, 2015. That tied for the third-most by the program in the rally-scoring era. The 18 total blocks against the Flames tied for fifth on the single-match chart.
  • The Penguins had 74 digs in a sweep at Wright State on Oct. 13. That was two shy of the school record in the rally scoring era that was set in 2008. It was also the most by any Horizon League team in a three-set match this season.
  • Youngstown State finished up a four-year stretch with 58 victories. That was the most in any four-year period since 1998-2001.
  • YSU won at least five matches on the road for the third straight season. Before starting the stretch with an 8-4 mark in 2013, YSU had won five road matches just once between 2000 and 2012.


  • Sam Brown posted 255 kills, the 10th-most ever by a YSU sophomore. She will enter her junior year with 548 career kills, which is the fourth-highest total ever by a Penguin after her sophomore year.
  • Jessie Gerig finished her career ranking 17th in program history with 420 assists.
  • Val Jeffery's 1,114 assists were the fourth-most in program history by a junior and the 10th-most regardless of class. She recorded her 2,000th assist as a Penguin against Cleveland State on Oct. 30, and she ranks seventh in program history with 2,213 assists with one season remaining in her career. Jeffery's 10.11 assists per set average over her career is the second-best mark in school history.
  • Aly Ryan registered a .291 attack percentage while posting a career-high 276 kills. She joined Ruth Boscaljon and Kristen Meech as the only players in school history to hit at least .290 in back-to-back seasons. Ryan finished her career with a .256 attack percentage, which is the fourth-best mark in program history.
  • Ryan will go down in the record books as an even better blocker. She finished her career with 369 block assists, which ranks second in program history behind Meech's mark of 435. Ryan's 402 career total blocks are the sixth-most in YSU history, and her 0.92 blocks per set average ranks seventh.
  • Ryan was a four-year starter, and she ranks fifth in program history in career sets played with 436.
  • Lauren Thompson had another efficient season on the right side with a .263 attack percentage while contributing a career-best 218 kills. Her career attack percentage of .245 ranks sixth in school history.
  • Nikki Thompson finished the season with a school record 510 digs, which was 15 more than the previous record she set in 2014 with 495. Her 4.72 digs per set in 2015 ranks second in school history to Jill Raslevich's 4.95 average, which led the country in 1995.
  • Thompson finished her career with 1,315 digs, which is the second-most in program history behind Raslevich's 1,495. Her 1,000th career dig came against IUPUI on Sept. 12. Thompson's career average of 3.25 digs per set is the fifth-best mark in program history. Thompson posted 1,005 digs over 58 matches her final two seasons as YSU's libero.
  • Thompson set a new school record for digs in a three-set rally-scoring match with 26 in the final match of her career at UIC. That led to her being named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week.
  • Lori Vanbeek had nine block assists against Valparaiso on Nov. 17, which tied for the fifth-most in program history in a rally-scoring match. She also had a solo block in the match, and her 10 total blocks against the Crusaders tied for the eighth-most in the rally-scoring era.
  • Sarah Varcolla was voted to the Horizon League All-Freshman Team, marking the second straight season that a Penguin has been recognized among the league's top freshmen. Varcolla led the Horizon League with 40 aces, and she ranked third among all Horizon League freshmen in kills with 236.
  • Varcolla tied YSU's school record for aces in a match with seven in her collegiate debut against Bradley. She joined Amy Hermann (twice) and Meech as the only three players in program history to have seven aces in a match.