IUPUI Volleyball Falls to Youngstown State in Heartbreaker

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The IUPUI volleyball team lost 3-2 to Youngstown State at home Wednesday evening, dropping their season record to 6-12 and 2-3 in the Horizon League. After taking the first two sets 25-21 and 28-26, the Jaguars dropped the remaining three 25-19, 25-22, and 15-13.

The first set proved to be quite even. After jumping out to a 2-0 start, the Jaguars and Penguins went tit for tat until the end of the set. In fact, the two were at a tie for a total of nine times throughout the set. Mid-set, the Penguins had a four point lead, but the Jaguars, with all their resilience, stormed back to eventually tie at 18 apiece. 

From there, the Jags jumped out in front with a score of 20-18 before the Penguins knotted things back up at 20. However, kills by senior Haley Hoffman and junior Maddie Dean as well as two service aces by sophomore Rachel Hickey sparked the Jags to finish on a 5-1 run and win the set 25-21.

“Offensively we hit really well,” head coach Lindsey Froehlich said. “Once we get more confidence out of them, I think we’re going to see some great changes.”

The second set was the epitome of excitement as it needed extra points to decide its victor. Similar to the first set, neither side could grasp much of a lead, tying 13 times throughout. The early portion of the set found the Penguins up 7-5, only to eventually lose it to a surging Jaguars squad who went on a 5-1 run to put themselves up 13-11. After the teams found themselves tied at 19, the Penguins attacked with a 5-3 run, giving themselves a 24-22 lead. The Jaguars roared back, tying the set at 24, forcing the Penguins to have to score an extra point if they wanted to win. Back-to-back service errors by both teams alike led to a 26-25 lead for the Penguins, but senior McKayla Wright struck on a kill that tied things up once more. After Junior Rebecca Schlechte converted on a beautiful misdirection kill, the Penguins chalked up a service error, securing the Jaguars a 28-26 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.

Though down 2-0, the Penguins never gave up, waddling their way to back-to-back wins in sets three and four. Both sets were characterized by an abundance of errors for the Jags. The Penguins scored on 10 points alone through six attack and four service errors in the third set. That number jumped to 13 in the fourth set as the Penguins capitalized on five attack, one blocking and seven service errors. While errors played an important role in their loss, coach Froehlich remained adamant that she wants her girls to stay aggressive.

“We’re never going to yell at them for making mistakes like hitting the ball out from being aggressive,” Froehlich said. “If they’re being aggressive and fighting for each point, we’re never going to penalize them for doing that.”

The fifth and final set began with the Jaguars prancing to a 6-2 lead early via two kills by freshman Corrissa Remter, single kills from Wright and Dean, and an ace by Schlechte. The teams switched sides with the Jaguars up 8-4 mid set. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the Penguins caught momentum and proceeded with a huge 9-1 run, taking a 13-9 lead. However, the Jags fired back with a 3-0 run themselves to bring it within one. Two kills gave the Penguins the set, 15-13, and the match 3-2.

Losing in the fashion in which the Jaguars did can sometimes hurt the confidence of the players. Froehlich touched on this aspect and explained the coaching staff’s role in building confidence.

“[By] Giving them opportunities in practice and continuing to mold their mentality,” she said. “Giving them the green light, go fail, go fail big, and try some stuff out.”

With Froehlich being the new head coach of the team, there has been a bit of an adjustment period.

“I don’t know if they’ve always had permission to have that [green light], so we’re giving them that permission and encouraging them to make plays,” said Froehlich.

Wright and Dean led the team in kills with 16 each. Hoffman recorded five blocks while freshman Allie Pogue had four. Schlechte was the assist leader with 32 and Hickey led in digs with a total of 27.

The Jaguars travel next to Green Bay to take on the 10-6 Phoenix.

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