14-16 Overall, 9-9 Horizon League
The Year in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso ventured into the Horizon League for the first time in 2007-2008 and finished the season .500 in conference play with a 9-9 mark in the Crusaders’ inaugural season. Valpo finished the season 14-16 overall, bowing out of the Horizon League Tournament in the quarterfinals following a 67-60 loss at Milwaukee.
On the Air: Every Crusaders game, home and away, was carried live either on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics or it was broadcast live on www.sportsjuice.com. In addition, all 18 Horizon League contests, the four home non-conference games, and the Horizon League Tournament were all available to be viewed live online through the Horizon League Network.
Wrapping Up the Horizon League Tournament: A late 15-1 run was not nearly enough as Valparaiso saw its season come to an end in the Horizon League quarterfinals on March 12, dropping a 67-60 decision to Milwaukee on the road. Valpo trailed by 18 with 4:19 to play but cut the lead to four with 41 seconds to go, but could get no closer. The Crusaders made just two of their first 14 shots from the floor while falling behind 30-24 at halftime. Sarah Ott led Valpo with 15 points on a career-high five three-pointers, all coming in the second half. Aimee Litka added 12 points while Agnieszka Kulaga had 10 points and nine assists.
Kulaga Earns Horizon League Second Team Honors: Agnieszka Kulaga became Valpo’s first All-Horizon League Team player as she garnered Second Team accolades. The junior guard led the Crusaders in scoring and rebounding averaging 14.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. She also shot a team-best 84.6% from the free throw line and was second on the team with 3.6 assists per game.
Valpo Nearly Matched Preseason Prediction: Valparaiso was tabbed to finish in fifth place in the Horizon League in its inaugural season according to the preseason poll conducted of the league’s head coaches, sports information directors, and selected media outlets. The Crusaders finished the season in sixth place, and entered the final game of the season with an opportunity to finish in the top-four.
Twins Match One Another: Launa Hochstetler was named the U.S. Army Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Week on March 4, earning the same honor her sister Leah received back on December 18. Both sisters have matched each on the court this season as well, as Launa hit a game-winning shot against Green Bay and Leah hit a winner against South Dakota State.
Litka Tallies Double Figures: Aimee Litka tallied double figures for Valpo in the scoring column in 27 of 30 games during the season for the Crusaders. The junior forward is averaged 13.7 points per game on the season and 14.3 points in Horizon League play. She finished the year ninth in the Horizon League in scoring.
Overtime Success: Valparaiso’s overtime win against Green Bay was the Crusaders’ fourth straight when playing extra sessions. The Crusaders have not dropped an overtime contest since November 21, 2005, a double-overtime affair against Bradley.
Free Throw Shooting Among Nation’s Best: Valpo is currently ranked 26th in NCAA Division I shooting 75.3% from the charity stripe. Individually, Valpo had three of the top six free throw shooters in the Horizon League. Agnieszka Kulaga was second in the league and is 33rd nationally shooting 84.6% from the stripe. Aimee Litka was fourth in the conference at 84.3% and Launa Hochstetler had the sixth best percentage connecting at a 83.3% rate.
Hochstetler Cracks Career Assist Charts: Launa Hochstetler has moved into the top-20 on Valpo’s career assist list. The junior is currently 14th with 225 helpers, passing Stephanie Greer (1987-1991). With her first three assists next year, she will tie Lina Mascarenas (1988-1992) and Betsy Rietema (2003-2007) for 12th all-time wearing the Brown and Gold.
Valpo’s Free Throw Shooting Shines: Valpo made 24-of-26 free throws in the win over Detroit on February 21 at the ARC. The 92.3% shooting is the eighth best single game performance by the Crusaders in school history as a team. The seventh best mark came earlier this year when Valpo was 25-of-27 (92.6%) against Butler in the conference opener on January 5.
Kulaga Earns Three League Honors: Agnieszka Kulaga earned her third Horizon League Player of the Week honor on January 21 after averaging 17.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in two games. Kulaga first earned the award on December 10 after turning in a then career-best 26 points against North Texas in a Crusader victory. She then earned the honor again on January 7 after pouring in a career-high 29 points while adding six steals, six rebounds, and four steals in a victory over Butler.
Litka Moves into Fifth on Single Season Treys List: Aimee Litka hit four three-pointers in the season finale to give her 68 triples on the season, tying her for fifth place on Valpo’s single season charts. The junior matched the totals of Lynda Kukla (1989-1990) and Suzie Hammel (2003-2004). Lynda Kukla set the school record with 101 during the 1991-1992 season.
Dialing In from Long Range: Valparaiso made 14 three-point field at Milwaukee in the Horizon League Tournament, tying for the third most ever made in a game. In victories against Green Bay (Jan. 19) and at UIC (Jan. 10), Valpo made 13 triples as a team are tied for seventh most in a game in school history. In addition, Valpo’s 64.7% (11-of-17) three-point shooting at Purdue on Nov. 12 was the fourth best outside shooting night ever for a Valpo team. Aimee Litka’s seven triples at Detroit (Jan. 26) tie her for fourth on the individual single game list.
Kulaga Has Triple Double: Agnieszka Kulaga had a triple-double (20 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists) in the win against Green Bay on Jan. 19. Her 12 assists are tied for third most in a game in Valpo history.
Kulaga Eighth in Single Season Scoring: Agnieszka Kulaga’s 437 points this season rank her eighth on Valpo’s single season scoring list. She finished six shy of Lyn Swanson (1985-1986) for seventh place.
Kulaga and Litka Rank 2-3 in Single Season Free Throw Shooting: Agnieszka Kulaga’s 84.6% shooting at the free throw line is second on Valpo’s single season list behind Mo Drabicki’s 85.1% shooting during the 1997-1998 season. Aimee Litka ranks third on the same list at 84.3%.
For Three: Valpo made 224 three-point field goals this season, tied for most in school history. The 1991-1992 team set the record originally. The Crusaders tied it the final game of the season making 14 triples.
Home Sweet Home: Valpo has had constant success at the ARC over the past seven years. This season the Crusaders are 9-4 at home and since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 71-20 (.780) record at the ARC.
Valpo Sets School Record at the Line as a Team: Valparaiso shot 75.3% from the free throw line as a team this season, the best ever for a Crusader squad. The 1987-1988 squad previously held the record at 74.8% for the year.
Shooting Percentage a Telling Tale for Crusaders: Valparaiso was 13-2 this season when shooting better from the floor than its opponents. However, when the Crusaders were outshot by their opponents, they were 1-14.
Kulaga Named Academic All-District: Agnieszka Kulaga has been named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V Second Team. The honor is voted upon by members of CoSIDA. In the classroom, Kulaga has excelled, posting a 3.78 cumulative grade point average while majoring in international business.
Valpo Adds Two for Next Year’s Class: Head coach Keith Freeman has signed two players to National Letters of Intent. Lauren Kenney is a 6’0” forward from Moorsville, Ind. who is currently playing at Lincoln Trail College. Sylwia Zabielewicz is a 6’6” center from Warsaw, Poland who is currently playing at Midland College. Both players will have two years of eligibility remaining.