Penguins Fall to NKU in Straight Sets

Erin Kalahar (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Erin Kalahar (Photo by Rob Hayes)

Northern Kentucky used a strong defensive effort to sweep the Youngstown State volleyball team on Wednesday evening at Beeghly Center. The set scores were 25-22, 25-19, 25-13.

Both the Norse and Penguins entered the match ranking in the top three nationally in digs per set, and the teams showed why. NKU registered 70 digs in the three-setter, and YSU posted 62. Northern Kentucky, though, held YSU to just 30 kills while posting 44 of its own.

Erin Kalahar had a solid night for the Penguins with nine kills in 21 attempts while adding three blocks. NKU limited YSU's starting left-side hitters to 12 kills in 60 attempts.

Margaux Thompson was one of three Penguins to reach double digits in digs and finished with a team-high 15, and Sarah Varcolla blocked a match-best eight attacks.

Haley Libs had 13 kills, and Ashton Terrill finished with a match-high 22 digs.

NKU came into the night averaging a nation-leading 20.27 digs per set, and YSU's mark of 18.86 digs per set ranked third.

Youngstown State had leads of 8-4 and 11-7 in the opening set before NKU flipped the momentum. The Norse went on a 7-1 run to take a 14-12 lead on a Libs kill, and it did not trail again in the set. Kills by Aleah Hughes and Varcolla allowed YSU to tie the score at 19 and 20, but that's as close as the Penguins would get.

YSU overcame a pair of four-point deficits in the second set to rally for a 12-11 lead, but NKU went on another 7-1 run to take an 18-13 advantage. Varcolla had two blocks during a 3-0 Penguin run that cut the margin to two before NKU pulled away for a 25-19 win. The Norse scored 10 of the first 12 points of the third set as it finished the sweep.

Youngstown State will play at UIC on Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern.