The Youngstown State volleyball team will begin the final week of the season on Tuesday when it hosts Wright State at 7 p.m. in the final match at Beeghly Center in 2015. The Penguins will then conclude the season with road matches at Valparaiso on Friday and at UIC on Saturday. All three matches will be streamed live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App.
The Penguins will be looking to end the season on a high note after two losses over the weekend eliminated them from qualifying for the Horizon League Tournament. Youngstown State celebrated Senior Day for Jessie Gerig, Aly Ryan, Lauren Thompson and Nikki Thompson in Saturday's 3-2 loss to Northern Kentucky, and Tuesday will be the final time the quartet plays at Beeghly Center.
YSU was swept by Oakland on Friday evening, and it let a 2-0 lead slip away on Saturday in a loss to NKU. Against the Norse, the Penguins won the first two sets 25-14 and 25-21 before dropping the next three 26-24, 25-15, 15-8. It was the third five-set loss for Youngstown State in Horizon League play and the second instance in which YSU was ahead 2-0 and ended up on the short end.
Aly Ryan was solid in both matches, averaging 3.12 kills per set while having just two attack errors in 52 attempts. The senior had nine kills against Oakland on Friday before setting a new career high with 16 kills versus NKU. Sam Brown surpassed 500 career kills and Jessie Gerig notched her 600th career dig in the match against Oakland.
- Mark Hardaway is in his fourth season as YSU's head coach. In his first three years, he led the Penguins to winning records in three straight seasons for the first time in school history.
- Youngstown State qualified for the Horizon League Tournament in each of Hardaway's first three seasons, and it advanced to the semifinals in each of the past two seasons.
- The Penguins rank second in the Horizon League in aces with 1.55 per set. That is the most by the program since 2005. Sarah Varcolla is the league's individual leader with 0.37 per set.
- The senior class of Jessie Gerig, Aly Ryan, Lauren Thompson and Nikki Thompson will leave Youngstown State with at least 57 victories. The Penguins had won 25 matches in the four years combined prior to their arrival.