Penguins Travel to Robert Morris, Akron this Week

Valor Haggerty (Photo by Regina Thompson)
Valor Haggerty (Photo by Regina Thompson)

The Youngstown State volleyball team begins the final week of its non-conference season on Tuesday evening as it makes the short trip to Robert Morris. The match against the Colonials is set for 6 p.m. at the North Athletic Complex, and live video and live stats will be available through rmucolonials.com. The Penguins are also scheduled to play Toledo and Akron at the Zips Invitational over the weekend. The schedule has changed as Iona will no longer be at the tournament due to a scheduling conflict, and Toledo is a new entrant as its tournament at VCU was canceled due to the threat of Hurricane Florence. As a result, YSU will play Akron at 7 p.m. on Friday, and it will play the Rockets at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Live stats will be available for those matches through gozips.com.

Recapping Last Week

Youngstown State went 1-2 at Virginia's Jefferson Cup last week, which dropped its record to 6-4 this season. The Penguins were swept by Virginia on Friday morning, and they split four-set matches on Saturday by beating George Mason and losing to tournament champion UNC Wilmington. Aleah Hughes was named to the all-tournament team after posting a pair of double-doubles and averaging three kills and 3.82 digs per set.

Quick Notes From Last Week

  • Valor Haggerty had her two best matches of the season on Saturday. She posted seven kills and three blocks in the win over George Mason, and she added six kills and another block versus UNCW.
  • Aleah Hughes reached double digits in digs in all three matches, and she's had at least 10 in all 10 matches this season.
  • Brooklen Pe'a registered a career-best nine kills in the four-set win over George Mason.
  • YSU had its best attack percentage of the season in the win over the Patriots with a .257. The Penguins hit .455 in the third set and combined to post 28 kills against just five errors over the final two sets. The 59 kills for the match were one shy of YSU's season high of 60 from the opening weekend against Bucknell.

Horizon League Rankings

  • Youngstown State ranks second in the Horizon League in kills per set (12.97), assists per set (12.22) and digs per set (19.22). The Penguins trail Green Bay in kills and assists and Northern Kentucky in digs.
  • Individually, Margaux Thompson is one of two players in the Horizon League to rank in the top 10 in both kills and digs per set. The sophomore ranks third in the conference with 3.38 kills per set, and she's ninth in digs per set with 4.05.
  • Thompson is one of three Penguins who rank in the top 10 in the conference in digs per set. Reis Zandier is fourth with 4.48 per set, and Aleah Hughes is eighth at 4.08 per set. In assists, Alexia Byrnes ranks fourth in the league with 7.86 per set.

National Rankings

  • Youngstown State ranks fourth in the country with 19.22 digs per set. YSU trails only fellow Horizon League school Northern Kentucky, UC Davis and La Salle.
  • The Penguins are also fourth nationally in attacks per set (40.05), and they are fifth in total digs (711).

Scouting Opponents

  • Robert Morris: Robert Morris will enter Tuesday's match with a 3-7 mark following a 2-1 showing at the Charm City Challenge over the weekend. The Colonials beat host UMBC and Loyola Maryland in five sets before a 3-0 loss to James Madison. RMU's other victory was a five-setter over Kent State last Tuesday in the Colonials' home opener. Alyson Londot and Skylar Clements were all-tournament team selections over the weekend. Londot leads Robert Morris with 2.62 kills per set, and Clements averages 1.31 kills and 0.62 blocks per set.
  • Bucknell: YSU and Bucknell will be playing for the second time this season; the Penguins won the first meeting 3-1 the opening weekend. The Bison are 5-4 overall and head to Akron following back-to-back losses to Hartford and Brown. Mimi Richards has been named to three straight all-tournament teams, and she posted 23 kills with a .426 attack percentage and nine blocks over the weekend. For the year, she averages 2.39 kills per set on a .370 attack percentage to go along with 1.45 blocks per set. 
  • Akron: Akron is 6-3 this season, and two of its losses have been to Power Five conference members Maryland and Wake Forest. This past weekend, the Zips beat Georgia Southern 3-2 and Elon 3-1 before being swept by the Demon Deacons. The Zips have four players averaging at least 2.3 kills per set, and Shelby Fulmer and Ashley Richardson are coming off all-tournament team performances at the Wake Forest Invitational. Kayla Gwozdz leads Akron with 3.06 kills per set.

Next Week

Youngstown State will begin Horizon League play with a pair of challenging road matches. The Penguins will play at preseason favorite Cleveland State on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m., and they'll make the 200-mile drive from Cleveland to Rochester Hills, Mich., to play Oakland on Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. The Golden Grizzlies were picked to finish second in the conference preseason poll, two points behind the Vikings.