By Marc Weems
The Youngstown State University volleyball team came into this season with low expectations. So far, those expectations have been exceeded as YSU has started the season 4-0.
YSU played in the Eagle Challenge at Morehead State University. YSU defeated Winthrop University 3-0, defeated Morehead State 3-0, and defeated Delaware State University 3-0.
YSU hadn’t swept a match since Sept. 10, 2016 and also hadn’t won consecutive games since September of last season.
“I was very excited to get that win,” YSU head coach Mark Hardaway said. “We weren’t very good at home last year.”
YSU went 0-9 at home last season which included two 5-set losses. YSU defeated Robert Morris University by a 3-2 score with a 15-11 final set.
“One of the team goals this year was to defend our home court. It felt really good to pull out the win. It’s always good when you can win a 5-set match at home. It’s also nice for the fans. We had a great crowd and the men’s basketball team came out so that was nice.”
This is the first time YSU has started the season 4-0 since the 2014 season when YSU started 6-0, all on the road.
“It is going to be the toughest competition of the year so far for both tourneys,” Hardaway said.
Right after a home tournament, YSU travels to the University of Texas at El Paso to face off with the University of New Mexico, the University of North Dakota, and UTEP.
“North Dakota is very solid, New Mexico is solid, and El Paso is very good,” Hardaway said. “This is a tournament that we scheduled because of the depth of talent. This is to start getting us prepared for the upcoming conference schedule. I expect it to be a tough weekend on the players.”
YSU now has to look ahead to its next matches with La Salle University at home before the Courtyard Marriott-Canfield Penguin Invitational. That tournament will feature the Fort Wayne Mastodons, St. Francis (Pa.) University, and the University of Akron.
“My team probably wants to shoot me because we have to come back a day early,” Hardaway said about the La Salle game. “A chance to get another home match was hard to pass up. The girls wanted something to play in between the Akron matches.”
Hardaway also said that the idea of another good home game was impossible to pass up so he did it. He said that team will need that day because of the amount of class they have all missed early on.