Volleyball Set for Final Two Matches of 2018 This Weekend

Youngstown State Volleyball (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Youngstown State Volleyball (Photo by Rob Hayes)

The Youngtown State volleyball team will complete the 2018 season this weekend as it heads on the road for a pair of Horizon League matches. The Penguins will play at IUPUI on Friday at 6 p.m., and they'll take on Wright State in the season finale on Saturday at 4 p.m. Friday's match against the Jaguars will be broadcast live on ESPN3, and Saturday's contest will be on ESPN+. Live stats for both matches will be linked on YSUsports.com.

Scouting Report

  • The Penguins will be looking to end coach Aline Scott's first season on a high note. YSU is 7-20 overall and 1-13 in Horizon League play, and that conference victory came in four sets against Wright State on Sept. 28.
  • Youngstown State ranks 21st in the country with 17.47 digs per set, which is 2.83 digs more than it averaged in 2017. YSU hasn't averaged more than 15.5 digs per set since sets were taken from 30 points down to 25 prior to the 2008 season.
  • Aleah Hughes is one of two players in the Horizon League to rank in the top 10 in the conference in both kills and digs per set. Hughes sits ninth with 2.70 kills per set, and she ranks 10th with 3.78 digs per set.
  • Hughes is the only player in the conference to lead her team in both kills and digs per set. She's vying to become the first Penguin since 2003 to lead the squad in both categories. Earlier this season she had YSU's first 20-20 match in 11 years when she posted 20 kills and 21 digs at Kent State.
  • Margaux Thompson and Hughes have combined for 43.7 percent of YSU's kills, 44.9 percent of its attempts and 41.3 percent of its digs.
  • Thompson is just out of the top 10 in the Horizon League in kills and digs per set. Her 2.60 kills per set are 0.02 behind 10th place, and her 3.63 digs per set rank her 0.15 outside the top 10.
  • Sarah Varcolla is one of just four Penguins in program history to reach 100 blocks in three consecutive seasons. She blocked her 100th ball of 2018 in YSU's last match against UIC on Sunday. Her career total of 385 ranks seventh in program history.
  • Thompson had a double-double of 10 kills and 11 digs in YSU's four-set loss to UIC on Sunday. It was her 15th double-double of the season and her fourth in the last five matches.
  • Redshirt sophomore Reis Zandier is averaging 3.17 digs per set, and her season total is 206 in 65 sets. She entered 2018 with 16 digs in her career.
  • YSU won its first three matches of the campaign and was 5-2 after impressive wins over UNLV and Duquesne at the Duquesne Invitational on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
  • Redshirt freshman setter Alexia Byrnes leads the squad with 6.86 assists per set, and she's also averaging 2.7 digs per set.
  • Aline Scott is in her first season as YSU's head coach. She is the 10th head coach in program history, and she is a head coach at the Division I level for the first time in her career. She spent eight previous seasons coaching in Ohio, the previous three as the head coach at Division III Hiram and five as an assistant at Akron.

Scouting the Opponents

  • IUPUI: IUPUI is 7-21 overall and 4-10 in Horizon League play, but the Jaguars will enter Friday's match on a two-match winning streak. IUPUI upset league-leading Cleveland State in five sets on Halloween, and it went on to win in five sets at Milwaukee last Friday. The Jaguars rank second in the Horizon League and fourth in the country with 18.61 digs per set, and it sits fifth in the conference in blocks per set. Four IUPUI players average between 2.25 and 2.51 kills per set, and three players average at least 3.2 digs per set.
  • Wright State: Wright State enters the final weekend a game behind Oakland for the final spot in the Horizon League Tournament. The Raiders are 13-13 overall and 5-9 in conference matches, and they'll host Cleveland State on Friday evening. WSU ranks second in the league with 1.41 aces per set, and it ranks fourth in blocks per set with 2.13. Teddie Sauer leads the conference with 0.48 aces per set, and Celia Powers is the Raiders' top attacker with 2.62 kills per set.