Youngstown State junior Margaux Thompson tied a program record for most digs in a match, but Kent State rallied from a two-set deficit to beat the Penguins in five sets on Tuesday evening at Beeghly Center. The set scores were 20-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-12.
Thompson, who started at libero for the first time this season, tied Karla Everhart's mark of 34 for the most digs in a five-set, rally-scoring match. Everhart's mark came against Green Bay in 2007 when sets went to 30 instead of 25.
YSU's Brooklen Pe'a had a career-high 21 kills, and Alyssa Oswald also set a career high with 16 kills. Those two pin hitters combined to hit .316 with 37 kills in 98 attempts. Kent State held the rest of YSU's lineup to 19 kills in 89 attempts.
Youngstown State had 14 blocks as a team, its most in a match since the 2017 season finale.
Morgan Copley had 18 kills to lead three Golden Flashes with at least a dozen terminations. Libero Erin Gardner posted 30 digs, and Kent State had 99 collectively.
Youngstown State fought through 10 ties and five lead changes early in the first set to win 25-20, and it overcame a 6-0 deficit in the second to win 25-23 and take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Penguins didn't take their first lead in the second set until a Copley attack error made the score 22-21.
YSU led 10-6 in the third set, but Kent State followed with a 9-3 run to take a lead it would never lose as it went on to win 25-22. Youngstown State led as late as 19-18 in the fourth set after an Erin Kalahar kill, but Kent State scored seven of the final nine points to win 25-21 and force the deciding set. Thompson had 10 of her 34 digs in that fourth set.
Youngstown State scored the first four points and extended its lead to 9-2 in the fifth before Kent State ended the match on a 13-3 run. The Golden Flashes scored five straight points to trim the deficit to 9-7, and a block by Alexia Byrnes and Aimee Beaupre gave the Penguins a 10-7 advantage. Kent State then scored six straight points, one of which was a reversed call on a challenge, to go up 13-10. Byrnes and Beaupre combined for another block for a side out, and an Aleah Hughes kill got the Penguins within one. YSU's 13th serving error of the night gave the Golden Flashes match point, and Taylor Heberle finished off the come-from-behind win with a kill.
Youngstown State dropped to 4-3 with the loss, and Kent State improved to 5-2.
The Penguins will play three matches this weekend at the Towson Invitational. YSU will take on Towson at 1 p.m. and Albany at 4 p.m. on Friday, and the Penguins will battle Coastal Carolina at 11 a.m. on Saturday.