Valparaiso rallied from a two games to one deficit, and trailed 22-16 in game four before coming back to defeat IUPUI 30-18, 24-30, 31-33, 32-30, 15-13 in the Mid-Continent Conference opener for both teams on Saturday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
The Crusaders opened the match hitting a sizzling .469 in game one with just one error on the way to taking an early lead. IUPUI responded by winning game two. The two teams battled in a pair of tight games with Valpo holding off a match point in game four. The Crusaders then won the decisive fifth game in which neither team led by more than two points throughout.
Elissa Malthaner (Brighton, Mich./Brighton H.S.) led the Crusaders in hitting with a .394 percentage and just three errors, while also adding six blocks. Marion Hansen (Huntley, Ill./Huntley H.S.) had a team-high 18 kills and added 11 digs for a double-double, while Michelle Robinson (Bloomington, Ill./Normal H.S.) and Cyndi Norman (Minooka, Ill./Minooka H.S.) also registered double-doubles. Robinson had 12 kills and 18 digs while Norman had 53 assists and 13 digs. Heather Hynds (Sylvan Lake, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) added ten kills and a match-high seven blocks along with Sarah Schmalz (Corona, Calif./Riverside Christian H.S.). Sara Silcox (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City H.S.) had 24 digs while Lindsey Moore (Wakarusa, Ind./Penn H.S.) added 19 for the Brown and Gold.
Rebekah Pallikan led all players with 23 kills and 29 digs for IUPUI, while Morgan Spaulding added 20 kills and hit .326. Michelle Sobocinski chipped in 14 kills and Erin Jones had 28 digs for the match. Tanna Smith quarterbacked the Jaguars offense with 66 assists.
Valpo (9-4, 1-0 Mid-Con) outhit IUPUI (2-12, 0-1) .181-.171 for the match and held a 15-9 advantage blocking. The Jaguars outdug the Crusaders 100-98.
Valparaiso will return to action next Friday when the Crusaders travel to Tulsa, Okla. for a 7 p.m. match with the defending conference champion Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.