Valparaiso used a blistering .362 hitting percentage for the match to defeat UMKC in three straight games Friday night at the ARC, 30-15, 30-27, 31-29. With the win, the Crusaders clinch a berth in the Mid-Con Championship in two weeks.
The Crusaders totaled 61 kills over the match's three games, their most in a three-game match this season, and committed just 15 attack errors on their way to hitting .362. The Brown and Gold needed every bit of that offense in games two and three, as the Kangaroos hit .310 as a squad in the final two games to keep them both close.
Leading the Valpo offensive attack was junior Nicole Schulz (Kewaskum, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran), who tied a career high with 18 kills. Schulz needed just 30 swings for her 18 markers, and committed just two attack errors, good for a .533 hitting percentage. The match improves her hitting percentage this year to .324, which is on pace to smash the Crusaders' current single-season record of .311.
Freshman Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) continued her stellar performance on the attack during her debut campaign, tallying 16 kills while hitting at a .387 clip. Porché leads the Crusaders and is second in the Mid-Con, averaging 3.67 kills/game on the season.
Jessie Fox (Granger, Ind./Penn) had an impressive showing in the penultimate home match of her career, putting down 15 kills and hitting .387. With the 15 kills, Fox sits at 999 career kills, tenth-best in Crusader history. She has also recorded 396 career blocks, which is fourth-best all-time at Valpo.
On the defensive side of the ball, Brittany Marks (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) paced the Crusaders, tallying 13 digs. Heidi Hammond (Crown Point, Ind./Merrillville) chipped in 11 digs of her own.
UMKC (5-21, 2-7 Mid-Con) received solid offensive performances from Jacqui Wood, who registered 11 kills and hit .500, and Angela Melka, who led the team with 13 kills. Melka registered a double-double, tallying 17 digs as well.
Valparaiso (17-11, 7-3 Mid-Con) returns to the court of the Athletics-Recreation Center for one final team this season, as the Crusaders host Western Illinois in a key Mid-Con matchup Saturday at 5 p.m. Fox and Alex Chism (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central [Miami Univ.]) will be honored prior to the match as part of Senior Night ceremonies.