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Crusaders Kick Off 2008 Slate at Notre Dame
The Crusaders are looking for their seventh consecutive 20-win season in 2008.
The Crusaders are looking for their seventh consecutive 20-win season in 2008.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Weekly Game Notes

Shamrock Invitational - Notre Dame, Ind.
Valparaiso vs. Nevada - Friday, August 29 - 4 p.m. CDT  [Live Stats]  [Audio]
Valparaiso vs. IPFW - Saturday, August 30 - 4 p.m. CDT  [Live Stats]  [Audio]
Valparaiso at Notre Dame - Sunday, August 31 - 1 p.m. CDT  [Live Stats]  [Audio]  [Video]

This Weekend’s Action: Valparaiso kicks off the 2008 season at Notre Dame’s Shamrock Invitational,  facing Nevada on Friday, IPFW on Saturday and the host Irish on Sunday.  The Crusaders also appeared at the Shamrock Invitational two seasons ago, dropping 3-1 decisions to #21 Notre Dame and #13 Missouri before defeating Idaho 3-2.

The Matchups:  Valpo swept Nevada in three sets (30-21, 30-28, 30-22) in the two programs’ only prior meeting, contested Aug. 30, 2003 in Fullerton, Calif. as part of the Four Points Titan Classic.  The Crusaders featured a balanced offensive attack, with five players registering between six and nine kills, and dominated at the net, recording 13 blocks, led by six from Liz Mikos.

IPFW holds a 12-5 edge in the all-time series against Valparaiso, and won the last matchup in Fort Wayne on Nov. 24, 2007, 3-1 (30-19, 30-14, 25-30, 30-21).  Val Bollenbacher led Valpo with 16 kills, while Angie Porché tallied 12 kills and 11 digs.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series with the Crusaders, 20-4, but one of Valpo’s victories came at the Joyce Center under Avery in 2004.  Most recently, the two squads faced off in the Shamrock Invitational in 2006, where #21 Notre Dame took a three sets to one (30-25, 27-30, 31-29, 30-22) victory.  Nicole Schulz paced four Crusaders with double-figure kill totals with 16, while Brittany Malicoat registered a team-high 22 digs.

Following the Crusaders:  WVUR (95.1 FM - Valparaiso) will be broadcasting all three of this weekend’s matches from the Shamrock Invitational.  The Nevada match will be carried live on www.sportsjuice.com, while the IPFW and Notre Dame contests can be heard over the station’s airwaves, as well as online at www.valpoathletics.com.  Adam Amin will have the play-by-play this weekend, while Michelle Niehaus will provide color analysis.  In addition, live stats will be available for all three matches, as well as video of the Notre Dame match, through the Crusaders’ official athletics website.

Looking Back at 2007: 2007 marked a new beginning for the Crusader volleyball program, which took to the court for the first time in the competitive Horizon League.  But Valpo enjoyed similar success to what it had experienced in its first five seasons under Carin Avery, winning 21 matches, finishing in thrid place in the Horizon League standings and advancing to the league championship match.

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.

20 to the 6th Power: With their victory over Butler in the first round of the Horizon League Championship on Nov. 16 last season, the Crusaders clinched their sixth consecutive 20-win season.  A mark which had been reached just five times in the first 23 seasons of the Valpo volleyball program, Avery has guided Valpo to at least 20 victories in each of her six seasons at the helm.  The Crusaders are one of just 19 Division I programs to have won at least 20 matches in each of the last six seasons.

All-American: Junior outside hitter Angie Porché made Crusader history numerous ways as a sophomore in 2007.  Porché became the first player in Valpo volleyball history to be awarded All-American status, as she was named an Honorable Mention All-American by the AVCA.  She also was the first player in Crusader history to earn All-Midwest Region honors from the AVCA.  A member of the All-Horizon League team, Porché set new Valpo single-season records for kills (584) and attacks (1,480), both marks ranking fifth in a single season in league history.

Digging Into the Record Books: Senior libero Brittany Malicoat made history as well last season, soaring into the Horizon League record book with 740 digs on the season, 161 digs beyond the previous league record.  Malicoat also surpassed her previous Crusader single-season record by 65 digs en route to being named the 2007 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year and being placed on the All-League team.  She enters the 2008 campaign just 200 digs shy of Valpo’s all-time record in the category.

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