Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Wins at Green Bay; Clinches Second Seed for Horizon League Championship
Angie Porché had just the second 20-20 performance of her career Saturday. (Ray Acevedo)
Angie Porché had just the second 20-20 performance of her career Saturday. (Ray Acevedo)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Valparaiso combined big offensive nights from Tara Diebler (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) and Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) with a stellar team defensive effort on the back line to earn a 3-1 (25-13, 25-22, 18-25, 25-23) victory at Green Bay in the Horizon League regular season finale Saturday.  The win secured the second spot in the league standings for the Crusaders and assured Valpo of a bye into the league championship semifinals.

“It was definitely nice to get a win in our final regular season match going up against a tough Green Bay team,” said Crusader head coach Carin Avery.  “It’s exciting to come out on top despite being shorthanded up front again tonight.  I thought Angie and Tara both did an especially good job picking up the slack offensively and coming up with extra kills.  They both had very nice matches, and they’re getting into a good flow on the offensive end right now, which is what you want from your top hitters coming down the stretch.”

Offensively, Porché and Diebler carried the Crusaders, combining for 41 of Valpo’s 59 kills on the evening.  Porché finished the afternoon with a match-best 22 kills on .273 hitting, while Diebler followed a career-high 20 kills on Friday with 19 more terminations on .357 hitting on Saturday.  Kim Bukowski (Waukesha, Wis./West) handed out a match-high 53 assists over the four sets.

Defensively, Valpo reached triple figures in the digs category, out-digging Green Bay by a 100-86 margin.  Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) led the effort on the back line with 28 digs, leading all players, but had plenty of help in the back.  Jenny Pokorny (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) picked up 21 digs, the second-best effort of her career, while Porché registered 20 digs of her own for the second 20-20 match of her career.  Bukowski chipped in 13 digs as well for a double-double of her own.

“We did a very good job keeping the ball off the ground tonight in the back,” said Avery.  “Taylor, Jenny and Angie all had very good matches in that regard, especially when we were late in tight sets coming up with big defensive plays.”

The Crusaders controlled the opening set for the vast majority of the frame.  Valpo trailed at 3-1, but put together a five-point spurt to take the lead for good.  Green Bay was still within two at 7-5, but the Crusaders out-scored the Phoenix  Porché picked up nine of her terminations in the opening set, while Diebler put down five kills on just seven swings. 18-8 from that point to take the opener.

The second set appeared early on that it would be a runaway, as the Crusaders jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but Green Bay  The Phoenix still led by three points at 17-14 before Diebler stepped up out of a timeout, putting down three kills in a 5-0 spurt that gave Valpo the lead for good.  Green Bay stayed close and was still within one point at 22-21, but an attack error gave the Crusaders a bit of a cushion and Mary Dent (Long Grove, Ill./Von Steuben) recorded kills for each of Valpo’s final two points of the set. responded with a 9-2 run of its own to take the advantage.

Valpo looked like it was in position to earn a sweep past the midway point of the third set, holding a 15-12 advantage after a four-point spurt that included two kills by Diebler and one from Porché.  But Green Bay outscored the Crusaders 13-3 from that point to close the frame and send the match to a fourth set.

Green Bay led almost the entire way in the fourth frame, taking as much as a five-point lead at 12-7.  The Crusaders scored seven of the next ten points, however, to close to within one point at 15-14.  The Phoenix maintained that slim lead for a good stretch and was within three points of forcing a fifth set at 22-20 before Valpo put together one final surge.  A Diebler kill was followed by a Green Bay attack error to tie things up, and a Katie Layman (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) kill gave Valpo its first outright lead of the set.  The Phoenix picked up a kill to tie things up again at 23, but fittingly, Porché closed the match with back-to-back kills.

Green Bay (10-19, 5-11 Horizon) was led by 16 kills on .260 hitting from Holly Visser.  Laura Garrow picked up 22 digs in the back row, while Visser added 21 digs of her own.  Lynsey Thiel led all players with five blocks on the afternoon.

“There is still room for improvement for us, because we had points in the match where our blocking and defense suffered,” said Avery.  “We have to stay more mentally focused and avoid those lapses.  But we played hard all night long, which I’m proud of, and it’s always nice to get a win in the last match before the tournament to go into the tournament with some momentum.”

Valparaiso (22-9, 12-4 Horizon) clinched the second spot in the final Horizon League standings with the victory and earned a bye into the Horizon League Championship semifinals.  The Crusaders will take on the higher remaining seed from Friday’s quarterfinals at a time to be determined on Saturday.  This year’s championship will be contested in Cleveland, Ohio, as Cleveland State will host after winning the league’s regular season title.

News Categories
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay