Hughes Posts 20 Kills, 19 Digs in 3-1 Loss at Kent State

Aleah Hughes
Aleah Hughes (Photo by Matt Milligan)

Kent State used 15 blocks and came from behind in the final two sets to beat the Youngstown State volleyball team 3-1 on Tuesday evening at the M.A.C. Center. The set scores were 22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-23.

Aleah Hughes was one dig shy of posting YSU's first 20-20 match in 11 years, finishing with a career-high 20 kills to go along with 19 digs. Margaux Thompson also notched a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs. The Golden Flashes forced each of them into 13 attack errors, and the Penguins had 42 errors as a team.

Youngstown State had a 49-42 edge in kills in the match, but the Golden Flashes held the edge in attack percentage at .146-.036. Kent State didn't have more than 11 kills in any set, but it also had six or fewer errors in each set.

Reis Zandier paced the defense with 25 digs, and Giovanna Kuntze registered a team-best 23 assists.

YSU dropped to 3-1 on the young season with the loss, and Kent State improved to 3-1.

Youngstown State had a pair of five-point leads midway through the opening set, and it rallied late to take a 25-22 victory. The Golden Flashes led 20-18 when YSU had five straight kills, including three consecutive terminations by Hughes, in a 6-0 run that put it ahead 24-20.

Kent State jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the second set and held the upper hand by at least the rest of the set as it won 25-16.

Youngstown State led 5-1 early in the third, but Kent State rallied with a 6-1 spurt and took a 7-6 lead. The score was within two points until back-to-back aces by Byrnes put the Penguins ahead 18-14. Kent State flipped the match by scoring nine straight points as part of an 11-2 run to end the set. The Golden Flashes had four kills, three blocks and a pair of aces in that 9-0 run.

YSU led 10-5 early in the fourth set, and the lead was five again later when a Thompson kill made the score 17-12. Kent State had runs of 4-0 and 3-0 as it tied the score at 19, and YSU's final lead came at 20-19 on a Hughes kill. Kent State scored five of the next six points to go up 24-21 and set up three match points. YSU staved off the first two on Hughes' 20th kill of the night and a block by Hughes and Sarah Varcolla, but Amy Kober's kill gave Kent State the 25-23 win.

Youngstown State will play three matches this weekend at the Duquesne Invitational. The Penguins will compete against UNLV and Bowling Green on Friday, and they'll play Duquesne on Saturday.