By Cameron Stubbs
The Youngstown State University volleyball team opened the 2022 season by hosting the DoubleTree-Youngstown Invitational at the Beeghly Center.
The Penguins look to improve their 6-23 record from last year and started the season off strong with back to back wins day one of the season.
The women swept The University of Idaho in three sets.
Sophomore Paula Gursching led the way with 13 kills followed by senior Nadia Pace and junior Elise Moeller with 12 and seven kills respectively.
The second match of the day was a battle against Delaware State University as the match went to five sets with Youngstown State pulling away with a 16-14 final set win.
Gursching again led the team with 26 kills on 72 attempts, good for a .292 hitting average. Those 72 attempts also set a school record for a single match.
Sophomore Isabel Schaefbaur distributed 29 assists against the Hornets, while senior Isidora Sisic contributed 20 digs and Pace added six blocks.
Head coach Aline Scott is confident in second year leader Gursching as she took the reins for the day, “[Gursching is] just so steady and we trust her,” Scott said. “When it’s clutch time we give her the ball and she’s going to handle it.”
Gurshing commented on the challenge of playing two matches in one day.
“For me the hardest part is having a break [between games] because we sat down and got cold,” Gursching stated. “As soon as we start playing the energy comes.”
Against the Hornets, freshman Abbie Householder earned 10 kills off the bench and recorded the last kill to end the day with a win for the Penguins.
Householder commented on her big match off the bench and what it means to be that spark,
“That’s always the goal,” Householder said, “When you can tell everyone’s heads are down just a little bit because we’re in a slump, so that’s always the goal coming in.”
Youngstown State battled Valparaiso University in the title match Saturday.
History repeated itself for the second straight year as the Penguins fell to the Beacons, this time by a final of 3-1.
The team was led by Gursching again with eight kills, but was coaxed into eight errors as well.
Gursching’s big weekend resulted in her being named Horizon League player of the week as she averaged 4.27 kills per set. This is her third time achiving this honor due to her 47 kills, 15 digs, and two aces over the weekend.
The 2-1 start will be put to the test as the Penguins head to St. Louis to participate in the Billiken Invitational on Sept. 2 and 3.
The volleyball team will take on Central Michigan University and Saint Louis University on day one, and The University of St. Thomas on day two. Follow along for live stats and updates on YSUsports.com.