Volleyball Hosts Four-Team Invitational This Weekend
First-year head coach Krista Burrows and as many as seven newcomers will make their home debuts this weekend as the Youngstown State volleyball team hosts a four-team invitational at Beeghly Center. The Penguins will play their first match in the round-robin tournament on Friday at 6:30 p.m. vs. Howard. They'll open Saturday's action at 11 a.m. against Niagara, and the Guins will play the tournament finale Saturday at 7 p.m. against Central Michigan. Live stats will be available for all matches, and YSU's three contests will have live video on YSUsports.com.
A Quick Look at the Penguins
The Penguins are young and inexperienced with one senior, six juniors and seven freshmen on the squad. Though there are seven upperclassmen on the squad, only two returning student-athletes (Brittany Grove and Brittany McNeal) played in more than 70 percent of the team's sets last year, and only 32.8 percent of the team's points are back from 2009. Junior right-side hitter Tasha Reid has led the Guins in kills in three of the first four matches, and her .196 attack percentage is also best on the team. Junior Brittany McNeal has 59 digs for an average of 4.54 per set, which ranks fourth in the Horizon League.
Kapferer Collects 300th Kill
Senior middle blocker Haley Kapferer reached a personal milestone on Tuesday when she recorded her 300th career kill. Kapferer, a native of Jefferson, Ohio, had five kills against Saint Francis (Pa.) to up her career total to 303. Kapferer recorded eight kills as a freshman, but she posted 156 as a sophomore and 121 last season. She has 18 this season through four matches. Kapferer will reach the 150 blocks plateau with one this weekend.
Six Make Penguin Debuts
With eight newcomers on the squad, there were six Penguins who made their debut wearing red and white last weekend. Two student-athletes – outside hitter Marissa Hundelt and Cavanaugh – played in all nine sets. Both players had 12 kills, and Cavanaugh posted 10 blocks and a .143 attack percentage. Other Penguins making their debut were freshmen Jackie Carlisle, Casey D'Ambrose and Chelsea Guerrieri and junior Brianna Kern. Carlisle was a first-team All-Ohio selection at Hubbard High, and Guerrieri played at Girard.
Reid a Main Option on Offense
Head coach Krista Burrows said throughout the preseason that junior right side hitter Tasha Reid would be relied on heavily in 2010, and Reid delivered the first weekend. Reid led the Penguins in every match, finishing with nine kills against Buffalo, eight against Akron and six versus West Virginia. The junior also had nine blocks in the three matches, including six against Akron. Reid had five kills in four sets against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Tuesday. In 21 matches last year, Reid had more than nine kills in just one match. Additionally, her 2009 high in blocks was four.
Hundelt, Cavanaugh Seeing Plenty of Action as Freshmen
True freshmen Marissa Hundelt and Jenna Cavanaugh have both started every match and played in every set entering this weekend's tournament. Hundelt, who was an early signee last fall, ranks second on the team with 20 kills and 31 digs. She posted a career-best eight kills in YSU's match Tuesday at Saint Francis (Pa.). Cavanaugh is tied for the team lead with 14 blocks. She set career highs with six kills and six blocks against Akron on Aug. 28.
McNeal's Been Solid at Libero
Starting as Youngstown State's libero for the first time in her career, junior Brittany McNeal has posted solid numbers through the first four matches of the season. McNeal registered 38 digs over nine sets at the WVU Classic for an average of 4.22. She had 18 digs against Akron, 12 against West Virginia and eight against Buffalo. McNeal then posted a season-best 21 digs in four sets at Saint Francis (Pa.) on Tuesday to up her average to 4.54. Marissa Hundelt ranks second in digs with 2.38 per set.
Background On Burrows
Although Youngstown State is Krista Burrows' first stop as a Division I head coach, she is certainly familiar with the division. She was a four-year starter at Auburn from 1994 to 1997, and she's been an assistant at three Division I institutions – Bradley, Cleveland State and Clemson. In her previous head coaching experience, Burrows was considered one of the top young coaches in the NAIA after leading Walsh to regional and national success in six seasons. Burrows led the school, located about 55 miles west of YSU, to two NAIA tournaments, three top 25 finishes and an average of more than 27 wins from 2004 to 2009.
New Line-Up vs. Saint Francis
During the Saint Francis (Pa.) match and in the last set of the match at West Virginia, Youngstown State switched to a 6-2 rotation. Since making the switch, sets have been much closer for the Penguins. They scored 18 points against the Mountaineers - the highest of the match - and no set was decided by more than three points against Saint Francis (Pa.).
The Penguins will play in their final in-season tournament next weekend at the Michigan/adidas Invitational. YSU will play the host Wolverines for the first time in school history on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Guins will then play Miami (Ohio) at 11 a.m. and Chicago State at 5 p.m. on Saturday. YSU's next home match will be Sept. 14 against Kent State.