Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Ride Rally to Five-Set Victory in Home Opener
Tara Diebler crushed her previous career best, posting 19 kills Friday. (Ray Acevedo)
Tara Diebler crushed her previous career best, posting 19 kills Friday. (Ray Acevedo)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Trailing two sets to one and down 22-17 in the fourth frame, Valparaiso turned the tide of the match quickly, reeling off seven straight points to spur a 3-2 (21-25, 25-13, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11) victory over Wright State Friday in the Crusaders’ home opener at the ARC.

“I’m very proud of the way this team came back tonight, especially considering how young our lineup is right now,” said Crusader head coach Carin Avery.  “In that fourth set, we got the sideout to get back to four points and just got into a good rotation for us and kept building the momentum to come back.  Both Andrea Balsis (Benton Harbor, Mich./Coloma) and Jenny Pokorny (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) came up with some huge digs for us at the end of the fourth set, but it was just a great total team effort to come back and win tonight.”

The Crusaders got back on serve after a Wright State service error as Tara Diebler (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) stepped back to the line with Valpo down by four.  Kim Bukowski (Waukesha, Wis./West) found Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) for back-to-back kills around a Raider timeout, and then set up Katie Layman (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie) for a termination to bring the Crusaders within one at 22-21.

Diebler then took over with her serve, registering an ace on the back line to knot up the frame and force Wright State to use its second timeout.  Out of the stoppage, the junior again came up with an ace to put the Crusaders ahead 23-22.  Porché then registered another kill to put Valpo in position to send the match to a decisive fifth set, and on its second opportunity, Layman and Porché combined on a block to complete the 8-1 set-ending run.

The fifth and final set ended up being the most closely contested of any of the five frames, featuring seven ties and three lead changes.  The two sides were tied at every point from 1-1 to 7-7 before Diebler came up with a monster kill out of the middle to give the Crusaders the lead for good.  Three straight Wright State errors gave Valpo a four-point cushion, and while the Raiders would cut the lead back to two points, kills by Katie Britton (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian), Diebler and Porché kept WSU at bay, and a Raider attack error would eventually end the match.

Wright State used an early 5-0 run in the opening set to gain a lead it would hold the entire frame.  A quick three-point spurt by the Crusaders in the middle portion of the set on a kill by Layman, a WSU attack error and a solo block by Amy Groesbeck (Wheaton, Ill./North) cut the deficit to one briefly at 17-16, but Wright State responded out of a timeout with three straight points of its own to take control of the opener.

It was a Valpo 5-0 run that gave it control of the second set, as with the score at 8-7, the Crusaders got a pair of kills by Porché, as well as a kill by Diebler, a service ace from Balsis and a WSU error to push the advantage to six points, a deficit which the Raiders would not be able to overcome as Valpo cruised to the set victory.

The third set was much like the first, as the Raiders controlled the majority of the frame and never let the lead slip under three points in the latter portions of the set.  The fourth set looked to be going Wright State’s way as well as it put itself in position to win the match, utilizing a big 8-1 run early to go ahead by seven points at 12-5.  The Crusaders would never let the lead exceed that seven-point margin, however, and while Valpo was unable to get back any closer than four points, it kept itself within striking distance until the big run late put the Crusaders over the top.

Valpo got monster performances offensively from both Porché, who tallied a season-best 23 kills on .375 hitting and also recorded 13 digs for a double-double, and Diebler, who shattered her previous career best for kills, registering 19 terminations while swinging at a .389 clip.  Diebler also matched her previous career high for service aces, picking up four.  Bukowski dished out a season-high 60 assists as well.

“Last weekend was a huge momentum boost for Tara, and she really carried that over into tonight,” said Avery.  “Once she got going tonight, she was just tremendous again.”

Defensively, the Crusaders out-dug Wright State (8-6, 0-2) by a 79-62 margin, thanks in large part to a pair of 20+ dig efforts on the back line.  Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) led Valpo in the category for the 13th straight match, posting a match-best 24 digs, while Balsis put up 20 digs, surpassing her previous career high set just last weekend.  Layman led the Crusaders at the net with five blocks.

Valparaiso (8-5, 2-0) returns to the court Saturday night as the Crusaders host Cleveland State at the ARC in Horizon League action.  First serve is set for 7 p.m., and all the action can be heard live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso or seen live on the Horizon League Network, both of which will have links available at www.valpoathletics.com.  Live stats will also be available through the official Crusader website.

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 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
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
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
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
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo