Volleyball Returns Home to Host Wright State on Wednesday

Heather Splinter (Photo by David Dermer)
Heather Splinter (Photo by David Dermer)

The Youngstown State volleyball team will have an irregular conference schedule this week with two days between its pair of matches. The Penguins will host Wright State at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Beeghly Center, and they'll hit the road to play at Milwaukee on Saturday at 5 p.m. Eastern. Wednesday's match will be streamed live on ESPN3 / WatchESPN, and live stats links for both matches will be on YSUsports.com.

Scouting Report: YSU enters this week with a 7-13 overall mark and looking for its first Horizon League victory. The Penguins were swept in two matches last weekend, falling at home to Cleveland State and at Oakland. YSU went almost a month without its season-opening lineup from Sept. 9 until last Sunday's match at Oakland. Junior Sarah Varcolla leads the team with 2.73 kills and 1.04 blocks per set. YSU leads the Horizon League with 1.45 aces per set.

Six Rotations

  1. Sarah Varcolla is nearing a series of noteworthy career milestones. She is 14 blocks from 250 in her career, 0.5 points from 900 and 23 kills from 700.
  2. Varcolla is also six kills from 200 this season, which would give her at least 200 in each of the first three seasons of her career. When she gets to 200, she will become the ninth Penguin to have 200 kills as a freshman, sophomore and junior (teammate Sam Brown also did it). This year, Varcolla is averaging career highs of 2.73 kills per set on a career-best .229 attack percentage.
  3. Margaux Thompson is averaging 3.20 digs and 2.44 kills per set as a freshman. Only two other Penguins freshmen have averaged at least 3.2 digs per set – Laurie Shives in 2007 and Jill Raslevich in 1992. Shives was a libero who averaged 3.74 digs, and Raslevich was a six-rotation player who averaged 4.18 digs and 2.68 kills.
  4. Senior libero Lauren Blanco is averaging a career-best 4.24 digs per set this season overall and 4.74 digs in Horizon League play. She had reached double digits in digs in seven straight matches before having three against Oakland on Sunday.
  5. Sunday's match against Oakland was the first time that Youngstown State had its opening-day lineup available since Sept. 9. Beginning with the New Mexico match on Sept. 15, Marketa Plesingrova missed the next five matches. When she returned, Heather Splinter missed the two matches against Northern Kentucky and IUPUI. Plesingrova then missed the Cleveland State match before returning versus the Golden Grizzlies. Plesingrova, Sam Brown and Margaux Thompson all missed the match at Green Bay.
  6. Sam Brown is two service aces away from becoming the fourth player in program history to reach 130 in a career. She would join Lori Longo (165; 1986-89), Dina Hartman (156; 1987-90), Julie Meese (139; 1986-89) and Jennifer Kathe (133; 1986-89).

Parents, Senior Night Set for Next Home Weekend: The Youngstown State volleyball program will celebrate its student-athletes' parents as well as its seniors next weekend. The Penguins will hold Parents Night on Friday, Oct. 20, against Green Bay, and they'll hold Senior Night on Saturday, Oct. 21, versus UIC.

Scouting Wright State: Wright State will come to Youngstown with an 8-11 overall mark and a 2-4 record in conference matches. The Raiders have impressive wins over Cleveland State and Green Bay, and they won the Chicago State Invitational. Katie Klusman averaged 3.35 kills per set and 2.93 digs per set. Jessie Thornton leads the conference with 4.94 digs per set.

Scouting Milwaukee: Milwaukee is 8-12 overall and 1-5 against conference opponents. The Panthers split the opening weekend against Cleveland State and Oakland, but they've dropped four straight. UWM ranks in the top four in the conference in every statistic except digs per set. Bridget Wallenberger ranks third in the league in blocks per set, seventh in attack percentage and ninth in kills per set.

Next Week: Youngstown State will host two more conference matches against Green Bay on Friday, Oct. 20, and UIC on Saturday, Oct. 21.