Valparaiso fought off a feisty Oakland squad Friday night in Rochester, Mich., earning a three-game sweep (30-24, 30-28, 30-21) over the Golden Grizzlies.
After the Crusaders captured game one in relatively easy fashion, Oakland exploded out of the gate in game two, jumping to a 14-7 lead. But Valpo would not let the Golden Grizzlies take a game that easily, clawing back to tie the score at 18 and eventually earning the game victory on two Allison Sears kills. The Crusaders trailed only once in game three and won the match going away.
Leading the way offensively for the Crusaders was freshman Val Bollenbacher (Bremen, Ind./Bremen), who has strung together a series of stellar performances since breaking the starting lineup four matches ago. On this night, Bollenbacher registered 14 kills and hit at a .310 clip.
Joining Bollenbacher with double-digit kills was fellow freshman Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South), who posted 12 kills on the night and hit a team-best .429. Porché leads the Crusaders in kills this season, averaging 3.61/game.
On the defensive end, Brittany Marks (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) paced the Brown and Gold with 16 digs. Marks has now led Valpo in digs in each of its 23 matches on the season, and is on pace to break the school record for digs in a season, currently held by Sara Silcox.
Amanda Morley led Oakland with 12 kills on a .333 hitting percentage while also recording three blocks. Lauren Duquette recorded 16 digs for the Golden Grizzlies.
The Crusaders outperformed Oakland (1-18, 0-7 Mid-Con) in almost every statistical category, out-hitting the Golden Grizzlies .250-.183 while also leading in kills (55-41) and digs (55-38). Oakland, however, did out-block Valpo, 7-6, only the seventh time in 23 matches that the Brown and Gold have been out-blocked.
Valparaiso (15-8, 5-2 Mid-Con) returns home Saturday night for a non-conference battle against the Mastodons of IPFW, the last non-conference home match for the Crusaders this season. First serve is slated for 7:00 p.m., and every volley can be heard live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.