Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Falls to La Salle in First Round of Christmas City Classic
Lauren Kenney had her second double-double of the season against La Salle.
Lauren Kenney had her second double-double of the season against La Salle.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Despite 22 points and 14 rebounds from Lauren Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville H.S.), Valparaiso was unable to hold on to a nine-point halftime lead and fell to La Salle 67-62 in the opening round of the Christmas City Classic held in Bethlehem, Pa.

Kenney tied her season high set earlier at Central Michigan and was one rebound shy of her high water mark in recording her second double-double of the season.

This started slowly for the Brown and Gold as the Crusaders made just one of their first nine shots from the floor and committed four turnovers in the first 7:45 of the contest.  La Salle built a 10-2 lead before Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) lay-in stopped the dry spell.

The lay-up and steal started a 14-0 Crusader run over the next 8:36, sparked by five points from Ashley Varner (South Bend, Ind./Washington H.S.) off of the bench.  The run was part of a larger 23-2 spurt by the Crusaders in which Valpo limited the Explorers to just one field goal over a 14:24 second span.

Valpo built a 27-14 lead with 3:01 left in the first half before La Salle cut into the lead just before intermission.  The Crusaders went into the break with a 29-20 lead.

Kenney had 13 points and six boards at the break while Kulaga had dished out five assists.  The Crusaders held a 26-15 advantage on the glass and converted 11 offensive rebounds into 12 second chance points to help build the lead.

The Explorers came out of the locker room with a 9-3 run over the first three minutes to cut the Crusader advantage to three, 32-29.  A Varner triple and a lay-in by Kulaga pushed the lead back to eight for the Crusaders, but that would be Valpo’s largest advantage the rest of the way.

La Salle made four three-pointers in the first six minutes of the stanza to pull within two, 37-35, with just over 14 minutes to play, and tied the game at 39 on a pair of free throws by Ashley Gale at the 12:37 mark.

Twenty seconds later, to charity tosses by Margaret Elderton gave La Salle its first lead since the 10-minute mark of the first half.  A triple by Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.) with 7:59 to play put Valpo on top for the final time, 47-46, but on the next possession Danielle Mickiewicz made a jumper to put the Explorers on top for good.

After La Salle’s lead grew to four, Kulaga converted a three-point play inside to pull within one with just over six minutes to play, but that would be as close as the Crusaders would get.

Two more three-pointers down the stretch, coupled with nine second half turnovers by the Crusaders, allowed the Explorers to pick up the victory.

La Salle (8-5) finished the game shooting 45% (9-of-20) from three-point range and made 18-of-20 (95%) from the free throw line to aid in the victory.

“Our turnovers in the second half and the lack of pressure on their three-point shooters were a big key tonight,” head coach Keith Freeman said.  “We gave up 47 points in the second half to a team that averages 60 for the game on the year.”

Elderton led four Explorers in double figures with 18 points while Morgan Robertson added 16 and five rebounds.  Gale had 14 and Jamie Walsh had 13 for La Salle.

Kenney finished the night making 9-of-15 shots from the floor for Valpo while Litka added 15 points, including three triples.  Kulaga had 11 points, nine assists, and six rebounds while recording nine steals, and Varner finished the night with a career high eight points.

Valparaiso (4-5) will wrap up play at the Christmas City Classic on Tuesday evening against the loser of the Lehigh-North Florida game.  Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. CST with all the action carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com.  The game can also be seen live through www.valpoathletics.com.

Game Notes: Launa Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) had three assists to tie Lisa Winter (1998-2000) for eighth all-time at Valpo with 264 for her career … Kulaga’s nine assists give her 215 for her career, moving past Lynda Kukla (1988-1992) for 16th all-time in a Crusader uniform … Litka’s three triples tie her with Kathryn  Knoester (2000-2004) for eighth on Valpo’s career chart … Varner’s previous career-high was seven earlier this season against Notre Dame … the all-time series is  now tied at one … Valpo entered the game with an RPI of 44 according to collegerpi.com.

W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 7 9th/12 (642)
Softball Northern Illinois 6 VU Softball Field
Apr 8 Valpo 8
Baseball Valpo 5 Evanston, Ill.
Apr 8 Northwestern 12
Softball Northern Illinois 3 8 inn.
Apr 8 Valpo 4
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
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
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 11:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 5:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26 Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M 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
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W 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