Penguins Wrap Up Non-League Slate with Red & White Invitational

YSU Volleyball (Photo by Rob Hayes)
YSU Volleyball (Photo by Rob Hayes)

SPECIAL PARKING NOTICE

Due to the Blake Shelton concert at Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday night, there will be parking restrictions across campus that will affect this weekend's tournament.

For matches on Friday, all parking lots except the M-30 deck on Wick Avenue must be vacated by 6 p.m. Fans may park in the M-70 lot along Fifth Avenue until 6 p.m., but vehicles left in the M-70 lot after 6 p.m. are subject to be towed.

All fans must park in the M-30 deck on Wick Avenue on Saturday.

The Youngstown State volleyball team will host the YSU Red & White Invitational at Beeghly Center this weekend as the final tune-up for conference play. The Penguins will welcome Central Michigan, Eastern Illinois and Robert Morris to campus for four matches on Friday and two more on Saturday.

YSU will play Robert Morris at 1:30 p.m. and Eastern Illinois at 6:30 on Friday, and the Penguins will conclude the tournament against Central Michigan on Saturday at 2 p.m. Youngstown State's three matches will be streamed on ESPN.com, and live stats will be available throughout the weekend.

Recapping Last Week

Youngstown State went winless in four matches last week, falling in five sets to Kent State, in four sets to Coastal Carolina and in three sets to Towson and UAlbany. The Penguins held a 2-0 lead in the match and a 9-2 lead in the fifth set versus the Golden Flashes on Sept. 10 at Beeghly Center before Kent State rallied. YSU then lost twice on Sept. 13 at the Towson Invitational and was more competitive in its four-set loss to unbeaten Coastal Carolina on Sept. 14. Aleah Hughes was named to the all-tournament team at the Towson Invitational, and Margaux Thompson tied the school record for digs in a five-set match against Kent State.

Match-By-Match Summary

  • Match 1 vs. Kent State (Tuesday, Sept. 10) | L, 2-3 (25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 21-25, 12-15) | Recap | Box Score
  • Match 2 vs. Towson (Friday, Sept. 13) | L, 0-3 (16-25, 8-25, 8-25) | Recap | Box Score
  • Match 3 vs. UAlbany (Friday, Sept. 13) | L, 0-3 (22-25, 15-25, 23-25) | Recap | Box Score
  • Match 4 vs. Coastal Carolina (Saturday, Sept. 14)| L, 1-3 (21-25, 21-25, 25-23, 17-25) | Recap | Box Score

Previewing The Opponents

Scouting Central Michigan

  • Central Michigan will come to Youngstown boasting a 7-2 record. The Chippewas won their first five matches of the season, including a 3-0 sweep of fellow YSU Red & White Invitational participant Eastern Illinois, and they beat Valparaiso and Holy Cross. One of CMU's two losses was a 3-0 setback to Horizon League member UIC on Sept. 7.
  • Kalina Smith leads Central Michigan with 3.16 kills per set as one of four Chippewas averaging at least two kills per set. Smith was named to the Preseason West All-MAC Team, and CMU was picked to finish fourth in the West. Maddie Whitfield averages 2.19 kills on an impressive .396 attack percentage.

Scouting Eastern Illinois

  • Eastern Illinois comes to Youngstown looking for its first win of the season. The Panthers have gone to five sets in two of their last four matches, including a 3-2 loss at Evansville in their final match last weekend. Eastern Illinois was swept by UIC and Central Michigan at the Chippewa Invitational on Sept. 6.
  • Ireland Hieb leads Eastern Illinois with 2.59 kills per set, and Maggie Runge averages 2.2 kills and 0.74 blocks. Hannah Sieg averages a team-best 0.82 blocks per set.

Scouting Robert Morris

  • Robert Morris is one of 10 teams in the country that remains unbeaten as the season enters the fourth week. The Colonials are 10-0, and only one of their matches has gone to five sets. One of the RMU wins was a 3-1 victory at Kent State, which beat Youngstown State in five sets last Tuesday. Robert Morris is already one win away from matching last season's win total of 11.
  • The Colonials rank fourth in the country with 3.22 blocks per set, and they also average 17 digs per set. Junior middle blockers Emma Granger and Maria Alfano have gotten off to fantastic starts as both average at least 2.9 kills and 1.5 blocks per set, and both have attack percentages better than .340. Granger is a two-time All-NEC First Team selection.

Up Next

  • Youngstown State will begin Horizon League play next weekend with a pair of road matches. The conference slate begins at Northern Kentucky on Friday, Sept. 27, at 6 p.m., and the Penguins will also play at Wright State on Sept. 28 at 4 p.m.

News and Notes

  • Another All-Tournament Team Honor for Hughes: Aleah Hughes was named to the all-tournament team at the Towson Invitational last weekend. The senior outside hitter averaged a team-best 2.5 kills per set while adding 3.0 digs per set at the tournament. Hughes was also an all-tournament team pick at the Penguin Classic.
  • Byrnes Approaches Triple-Double: Setter Alexia Byrnes had a near-historic performance against Coastal Carolina last Saturday at the Towson Invitational. The sophomore finished with 36 assists, a career-high 12 kills and nine digs against the unbeaten Chanticleers. With one more dig, she would have had YSU's first triple-double since Karla Everhart's effort on Oct. 14, 2008, at Pittsburgh.
  • Thompson Ties Digs Record: Playing at the libero position for the first time this season, junior Margaux Thompson tied the school record for most digs in a five-set rally-scoring match in the contest against Kent State on Sept. 10. Thompson matched Everhart's mark of 34 that was set against Green Bay in 2007 when sets went to 30 instead of 25. Thompson had 10 digs in the fourth set alone. Thompson is tied with Hughes for the team lead with 117 digs and 3.25 digs per set.
  • Pe'a Enjoys Beeghly Center: Sophomore pin hitter Brooklen Pe'a has been a force for the Penguins in their four matches at Beeghly Center. Pe'a has averaged 3.81 kills on a .331 attack percentage and 2.69 digs per set at home. She was the Most Valuable Player of the season-opening Penguin Classic, and she had a career-best 21 kills in YSU's last home match against Kent State on Sept. 10.
  • Milestones Achieved Last Week
    • Aleah Hughes reached 700 career digs in the match against Coastal Carolina.
    • Erin Kalahar notched her 300th career kill against the Chanticleers.
    • Brooklen Pe'a surpassed 200 career kills in her 21-kill effort versus Kent State.
  • Milestones Within Reach
    • Alexia Byrnes needs 19 assists to reach 800 in her career. She's also 17 kills from 100 and 14 digs from 300.
    • Valor Haggerty is nine kills from reach 200 in her career.
    • Brooklen Pe'a is 26 digs away from reaching 200 in her career.
    • Margaux Thompson needs 11 digs to reach 800 in her career.