By Kyle Wills
The Youngstown State University volleyball team lost its first two matches of Horizon League play this past weekend at the Beeghly Center. The team took on Oakland University and Cleveland State University.
The women fell in straight sets to Oakland to start league play on Friday. Freshman Paula Gursching reached double figures in kills for the 12th straight match with 13, and she also added four aces. Freshman Cheyenne Hlady assisted on all of the team’s six blocks, and junior Reilly Seagroves had 16 digs.
On Monday, head coach Aline Scott said the team started the week by reviewing game tape to help the women bounce back.
“We just spent the day watching videos and really going through what fell apart this past weekend and just analyzing and getting better at those skills this week for the next week,” she said.
In the opening set, Gursching and Oakland’s Jamie Walling both had seven kills, but the Golden Grizzlies had an 18-12 edge collectively and scored 10 of the final 15 points of the set. Oakland then went on a 10-1 run in the second set on its way to a 25-16 win.
In the third set, the Penguins responded by taking an 11-6 advantage. The Golden Grizzlies tied the score at 14 as YSU had four straight attack errors. The Penguins saved three match points before a kill by Oakland’s Jessica Riedl, and an ace from Walling ended the match.
On Saturday, the volleyball team fell 3-0 to CSU falling 0-2 in league play. Junior outside hitter Ellie Cox had a career-high 10 kills, and she led the Penguins with a .320 attack percentage. Seagroves had 11 digs, and Gursching and junior Josi Borum added six kills apiece. It was the first time in her career that Gursching failed to reach double-digit kills.
The Vikings went on big runs in all three sets as they improved to 2-0 in Horizon League play. CSU scored six straight points as part of an 11-3 run to end the first set after the score was tied at 14.
The Viking run in the third set came when the Penguins held an 18-13 advantage. After a break in play because of a challenge, CSU scored seven straight points as part of a 12-2 run to end the match.
On Monday, Scott discussed how the primary focus for this week will be attacking.
“We need to, offensively, produce at a much higher percentage. I think that was the biggest difference between us and our opponent. We dug well when we served well, but we couldn’t produce offensively. Today, the whole focus of practice was attacking and we’re going to continue to do that the whole week,” Scott said.
The Penguins will continue their season with two more contests at the Beeghly Center this weekend. YSU will host Purdue University Fort Wayne at 4 p.m. Saturday and Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis at 2 p.m. Sunday.