Kern, Grove earn weekly honors

Two senior volleyball players earn Jambar Player of the Week honors after helping the Penguins earn a victory in the final game of the season on Saturday.

Defensive specialist Bri Kern and outside hitter Brittany Grove helped the Penguins defeat Loyola University Chicago in four sets. The Penguins won both meetings against Loyola this season.

The win was the Penguins’ fifth overall and third in the Horizon League. They ended the season winning two of their last three games.

Grove said it was nice to get a win in her final game.

“It was pretty emotional,” Grove said. “Being here for four years and knowing it’s your last time playing here is emotional, but we love our team, and it’s nice to finish on a strong note and on a win.”

In the game, Kern led the Penguins with 13 digs. Grove helped with nine total attacks and seven digs.

“My senior year was excellent, and the whole team made it great,” Kern said. “It was nice to have Brittany here as my fellow senior. I kind of look at her as higher up than me, so I kind of hold her in a higher status than me.”

The Penguins lost a close match to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in four sets on Friday.

Kern finished with six digs and one assist. Grove helped with four total attacks and three digs.

Kern participated in 25 matches this season and finished with 192 digs, 83 sets, 30 assists and 15 serving aces.

Before coming to Youngstown State University, Kern played at Centenary College of Louisiana in her first two collegiate seasons. She led Centenary in kills, posting 227 as a freshman and 184 as a sophomore.

Head coach Krista Burrows said Kern’s career impressed her.

“Kern has only been here for two years, but she was a captain this year and did a really good job,” Burrows said. “She had a strong two years here, and I am glad to see them go out with a win.”

Originally from Indianapolis, Kern earned all-county and state honors as a senior at Roncalli High School. She also participated in track, gymnastics and dance. She was a two-time regional qualifier in track and gymnastics.

Grove played in 24 matches and posted 62 digs, 55 sets and 39 kills this season. She finished the year with 150 total attacks.

Burrows said Grove’s experience helped the Penguins this season.

“She really came around this year,” Burrows said. “She accepted her role well. She has just been solid and a good person to be around.”

Grove attended Madison Comprehensive High School in Mansfield. She was a four-year letter winner for the Rams and a team captain for one season. She was a second-team All-Ohio selection as a senior.