IUPUI at Valparaiso - Tuesday, Oct. 21 - 7 p.m. [Live Stats] [Audio] [Video]
Milwaukee at Valparaiso - Friday, Oct. 24 - 7 p.m. [Live Stats] [Audio] [Video]
Green Bay at Valparaiso - Saturday, Oct. 25 - 4 p.m. [Live Stats] [Audio] [Video]
This Week’s Action: Valparaiso, which enters the week just one-half game out of second place in the Horizon League standings, closes out a six-match homestand with a non-league battle against IUPUI on Tuesday before hosting Milwaukee and Green Bay on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Wrapping Up Last Week: In their only match of the week, the Crusaders avenged their first league loss with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-16) victory over Butler at the ARC. Angie Porché paced the Crusader attack with 21 kills, while Allison Sears registered a season-best 19 kills on .500 hitting. Brittany Malicoat put up 31 digs in the four-set win.
The Matchups: Valpo holds a 16-12 advantage in the all-time series against IUPUI and has won the last nine meetings since the start of the 2004 campaign, including a 3-1 (30-25, 30-25, 24-30, 30-28) victory in Indianapolis on Oct. 12, 2007. Angie Porché led the way with 27 kills, while Tara Newton put up 14 kills on .440 hitting in her hometown. Kim Bukowski dished out 59 assists in the win.
Milwaukee pulled ahead in the all-time series with the Crusaders, 11-10, with a 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-19, 25-13) win in Milwaukee on Sept. 27. Porché posted 15 kills and Katie Layman chipped in ten terminations on .450 hitting in the losing effort.
The Crusaders hold the edge in the series against Green Bay, 11-7, but the Phoenix came from behind to earn a 3-2 (25-18, 24-26, 22-25, 28-26, 15-7) win at home on Sept. 26. Brittany Malicoat broke Valpo’s all-time digs record in the match and ended the night with 23 digs. Four Crusaders finished in double figures in kills, led by 22 terminations from Porché.
Following the Crusaders: WVUR (95.1 FM - Valparaiso) will broadcast all three of this week’s matches over its airwaves. Links to live audio, video and live stats for each of the three matches will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.
The Nation’s Best: Valparaiso entered last week as the nation’s #2 team in both kills/set and assists/set, and with its performance against Butler moved atop the nation in both categories at the end of the week, passing the nation’s #1 team in Penn State. The Crusaders put up 65 kills in four sets against the Bulldogs, increasing their average kills/set to 15.12 and assists/set to 14.03.
Offensive Dominance: When a team is ranked atop the nation as Valpo is in kills/set, it’s probably out-killing its opponent on most occasions, and this holds true for the Crusaders, who have posted less kills than their opponent just once this year (Indiana). Valpo has registered at least ten more kills than its opposition in 14 of its 19 matches and has tallied at least 20 more kills eight times.
Especially of Late: Valpo’s offensive dominance over its opposition has been even more pronounced lately. In their last seven matches (6-1), the Crusaders have out-killed their opponent by at least ten kills in all seven matches and are averaging a staggering 16.15 kills/set, over five kills more per set than their opponents. Valpo is also swinging at a .252 clip over the stretch, 35 points better than its season average.
Success at Home: The Crusaders have stood out on their home court at the Athletics-Recreation Center since Carin Avery’s ascension to the head coaching position prior to the 2002 season, and the beginning of this home campaign has been no exception. Valpo is now 62-13 (.827) at home under Avery, including a 4-1 record at the ARC so far this year.
Early Success: Coming into the 2008 season, the Crusaders knew they had a challenging pre-league slate ahead of them. Five teams that finished in the top-100 of the RPI in 2007 and two others which won at least 20 matches were on the schedule. But this year’s squad stepped up to the challenge, posting a 7-2 record in pre-league action, the best mark percentage-wise prior to the start of league play in Carin Avery’s seven years.
Tabbed Second: Valparaiso has been projected to finish second in the Horizon League this season in preseason polling of the league’s nine head coaches. Cleveland State, last year’s tournament champion, was a unanimous selection to capture the league crown. Following the Crusaders were Milwaukee, UIC, and Butler. Youngstown State was placed sixth, while Wright State, Loyola and Green Bay rounded out the polling.
Know Your Rules: The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee and the Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a number of rule changes prior to the 2008 season. The most visible of the rule changes will be the following:
- The term “game” will be changed to “set”
- Sets one through four will now be contested to 25 (previously 30) points
- The maximum number of substiutions will now be 12 (previously 15) per set
Leading the Charge: Junior outside hitter Angie Porché continues to rank among the nation’s leaders in kills/set and has helped propel the Crusaders to the nation’s top spot in kills/set as a team. Porché posted 21 kills in Valpo’s four-set win over Butler on Friday, increasing her average to 4.72 kills/set, nearly a full kill per frame more than any other Horizon League player. She moved up into the third position on Valpo’s career kills chart against the Bulldogs and now has 1,418 career terminations, just three kills shy of the second spot on the list. She is also just 87 kills shy of the top spot, currently held by Lori Barton.
Reaching New Heights: Senior libero Brittany Malicoat continues to reach unprecedented heights in the back row for the Crusader volleyball program and is approaching some all-time national elite numbers. Malicoat picked up 31 digs in Valpo’s only match last week, increasing her career total to 2,087 digs, less than 100 digs shy of cracking the NCAA’s all-time top-25 as of the beginning of the 2008 season. She also has registered at least ten digs in each of her last 70 matches, the second-longest active streak in the NCAA and the third-longest streak all-time.
Sears Swings Away: Senior middle hitter Allison Sears earned Horizon League Offensive Player of the Week accolades last week after a standout performance in the Crusaders’ win over Butler. Sears picked up a season-best 19 kills, matching the second-highest output of her career, and matched her season-best clip with a .500 hitting percentage. She also added two aces and five blocks, including three of the solo variety. On the year, Sears ranks second on the Crusaders and fifth in the league with 3.03 kills/set.
Running the Offense: Junior setter Kim Bukowski has distributed the ball all season long for the Crusader offense and leads the Horizon League by far in assists/set with an average of 10.84, among the nation’s top-30 in the category. Bukowski has handed out at least 40 assists in each of Valpo’s last nine matches, including 57 most recently in Valpo’s four-set win over Butler. She has moved up to seventh on Valpo’s all-time assist chart this year and is just 180 assists shy of breaking 2,000 helpers for her career.