(Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) was one of three Crusaders to set a career-high in kills and Valpo battled back after dropping game one to defeat Idaho 27-30, 30-28, 32-30, 22-30, 15-9 Saturday evening in Notre Dame, Ind. at the Shamrock Invitational.
With the win, Valpo secured third place at the four-team tournament that included a pair of top-25 ranked teams.
Sears, only a sophomore, had 22 kills against the Vandals and hit .255. She obliterated her previous career-high of 14, set earlier this season, and is the first Valpo player this season to notch over 20 kills in a single match. Sears also set a career and Valpo season high in blocks with nine, one solo, leading a Crusader defense that sent back a season-high 14 blocks.
But she was not the only player in brown and gold to come up big. Freshman Angie Porché
(Lynwood, Ill./Thornton-Fractional South) also set a career-high with 19 kills, hitting a monster .395 by virtue of only four errors. Nicole Schulz
(Kewaskum, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran), who set career-highs with 16 kills in each of the last two matches, piled up a new personal best of 18 kills, hitting .317, and added six blocks.
By virtue of all the big offensive numbers, setter Sara Hughes
(San Antonio, Texas/Perrysburg, Ohio, H.S.) also set a career-high with 69 assists, the fifth-highest total in a five-game match in school history.
And not all of the highlights came on offense either, as Tiffany Meikle
(Cottage Grove, Wis./Monona Grove) set a career-high with 20 digs and Brittany Marks
(Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) added 24 as the Crusaders totaled 79 digs. Alex Chism
(Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) and Heidi Hammond
(Crown Point, Ind./Merrillville) also had double-digit dig nights.
Valpo's 14 blocks were three better than the Vandal total of 11, and the Crusaders' 76 kills were seven more than Idaho's total. The Vandals (0-6) were led by Haley Larsen who put down a match-high 23 kills.
The Crusaders (4-3) will be back in action Friday at the Cyclone Classic in Ames, Iowa. Valpo will face host Iowa State Friday at 6:30 p.m. before meeting South Dakota State Saturday at 11:00 a.m. The Iowa State match will be carried live on 95.1 FM, WVUR, and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.