Gabe Schmidt began his tenure as a graduate assistant coach with the Youngstown State volleyball program in the fall of 2018.
The Penguins won six of their first nine matches in 2018 and claimed the Bucknell Invitational tournament title in the first weekend. The Penguins beat Saint Peter's, NJIT and Bucknell at the tournament, and they went on to also defeat UNLV, Duquesne and George Mason in non-conference play. The win over George Mason was the 500th in program history.
Margaux Thompson was named the MVP of the Bucknell Invitational to begin a year of progression for the sophomore, and she was also named to the All-Tournament Team at Duquesne. Thompson surpassed 240 kills for the second straight season and posted 248 over 29 matches. She set a new career high with 3.56 digs per set and 360 total digs.
Aleah Hughes made a big impact on her return to the program. After taking a year away from the sport in 2017, she led the team with 2.70 kills and 3.87 digs per set, becoming the first Penguin to lead the team in both kills and digs in 15 years. Hughes was the only player in the Horizon League to lead her team in both kills and digs per set, and she was also the only player it the conference to rank in the top 10 in both categories.
Hughes and Erin Kalahar were both named Academic All-Horizon League, and the team posted a 3.62 cumulative GPA for the fall 2018 semester.
The Penguins saw a major uptick in digs per set in 2018, going from 14.64 in 2017 to 17.70 in 2018. That averaged ranked 19th in the country, and it was the highest by a Penguins team since 2007.
Schmidt served as a volunteer assistant coach at Oakland in the Horizon League the previous two seasons. He handled duties traditional held by both a video coordinator and director of operations. He prepared video for scouting and did video exchange in his role as the video coordinator. In the operations component of his job, he coordinated the Golden Grizzles' travel, helped facilitate practice and recorded statistics.