Penguins Battle Back to Beat IUPUI in Five Sets

Alexia Byrnes (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Alexia Byrnes (Photo by Rob Hayes)

Behind a monster night from Margaux Thompson, the Youngstown State volleyball team rallied from down two sets deficit to beat IUPUI 3-2 on Wednesday evening at The Jungle. The set scores were 21-25, 26-28, 25-19, 25-22, 15-13.

Thompson registered a match-high 17 kills while adding a team-best 21 digs to lead the Penguins to their first Horizon League victory of the season. Setter Alexia Byrnes posted 41 assists, 17 digs and seven kills, and she collected her 1,000th career assist on a Thompson kill in the fifth set. Brooklen Pe'a was the third Penguin with a double-double, registering 13 kills and 11 digs.

Mckayla Wright and Maddie Dean had 16 kills apiece, and Rachel Hickey led all players with 27 digs for IUPUI. The Jaguars committed 23 serving errors in the match.

The Penguins had chances to win each of the first two sets, which were both close throughout. YSU owned the largest margin of the opening set at 14-10 following a kill by Thompson, and its last lead was 18-17. An Aleah Hughes kill later tied the score at 21, but IUPUI scored the final four points of the set to prevail 25-21. The final two points came on back-to-back aces.

Youngstown State then led in the second set until IUPUI went ahead 11-10. The Penguins pulled late and led 23-20 following back-to-back Thompson kills. Another Thompson finish gave the Penguins their first of four set points at 24-22, but IUPUI held on each of them and scored the final three points to win 28-26. That ended up being the Jaguars' final lead until the fifth set.

With the Jaguars leading 2-0, Youngstown State grabbed momentum early in the third and led 5-2 after Erin Kalahar's ace. The lead grew to 12-5 on an Aimee Beaupre kill, and a Thompson kill made it 19-11. YSU went on to win 25-19.

The Penguins then scored four of the first five points in the fourth set, and the only times that IUPUI tied the score was at 7-7, 9-9 and 10-10. YSU went on a 7-3 run to take a 21-16 advantage, and a Thompson kill on set point knotted the match at 2-2.

IUPUI got six kills early in the fifth set to take an 8-4 lead, but YSU stormed back with a 6-0 run to take a 10-8 advantage. Pe'a, Byrnes, Beaupre and Thompson each had kills during the run, and Beaupre and Byrnes combined for a block. The YSU lead grew to 13-9 following IUPUI's final service error and consecutive Jaguar attack errors, and Hughes had a big kill for a side out later once IUPUI got within 13-12. IUPUI saved one match point, but Byrnes connected for her seventh kill of the night to finish off the win.

YSU will have a quick turnaround as it will return to Youngstown to host Green Bay on Friday at 6 p.m.