The Youngstown State volleyball team split its two matches on Friday at the Cornell Invitational, beating Niagara in four sets and falling to the host Big Red in three.
Aleah Hughes was the Penguins' top attacker in both matches, posting 14 kills in the four-set victory over the Purple Eagles and eight versus Cornell. The senior outside hitter also totaled 25 digs on the day.
Youngstown State will take its 4-1 record into the final day of the Cornell Invitational on Saturday as it takes on Hartford. First serve against the Hawks is set for 1 p.m.
Match 1 vs. Niagara
Youngstown State earned its fourth straight victory to start the season by beating Niagara 25-16, 25-20, 17-25, 25-14 in the first match of the Cornell Invitational. Hughes had 14 kills and 16 digs to collect a double-double, and four teammates each had at least a dozen digs. Setter Alexia Byrnes also had a double-double with 33 assists and 22 digs, and Brooklen Pe'a matched her with a match-best 22 digs.
The Penguins built a 14-7 lead in the first set and won comfortably at 25-16, and they went on a 12-3 surge in the second set to turn a 14-11 into a 23-17 lead. YSU won the set 25-20 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Niagara scored the first three points and seven of the first nine points in the third set to win 25-17, but YSU rebounded to take the fourth 25-14. The Penguins led 10-7 before scoring eight of the next 10 points behind the serving of Byrnes and Hughes.
Match 2 vs. Cornell
The Penguins dropped their first decision of the season to Cornell, falling 25-16, 25-19, 25-21. Youngstown State's record slipped to 4-1, while the Big Red were playing their season opener.
Hughes led YSU with eight kills, and Margaux Thompson was next with six kills on 18 attempts.
Cornell had 10 more kills than Youngstown State, 38-28, and also registered seven aces.
The Big Red led the entire first set, but YSU built an 11-6 lead in the second set following a Hughes kill. Cornell went on an 8-1 run to seize a 14-12 advantage and did not trail again. Youngstown State led for most of the third set, and its final lead came at 19-17 on a Hughes kill. The score was tied at 21 before Cornell scored the final four points of the match.