Missing two starters due to illness, Valparaiso dropped a three-game match to Loyola 30-22, 32-30, 30-21 on Tuesday evening in Chicago, Ill.
The Ramblers took control of game one early. With the score tied at seven, Loyola ran off nine unanswered points. The Crusaders closed to within five, 20-15, after a 5-0 run of their own, as Jessi Novak (Antigo, Wis./Antigo H.S.) had three kills during the span. The Ramblers pulled away again with five straight points late to lead them to the 30-22 victory. Novak led the Crusaders with six kills in the opening game. Kristen Daly had eight kills in 14 swings for Loyola, as the team hit .400 in the opener.
Game two was close throughout. Valpo built a 12-8 lead only to see the Ramblers respond with a 7-1 run to take the lead. Back-to-back service aces from Sarah Schmalz (Corona, Calif./Riverside Christian H.S.) tied the game at 18 for the Crusaders. After Loyola retook the lead 28-25, Valpo tallied four straight points, capped off by Michelle Robinson's (Bloomington, Ill./Normal H.S.) kill to give the Brown and Gold a game point. Robinson had five kills in the second game. Valpo had two chances to win game two, however Loyola fought off both game points to win 32-30.
In game three, Loyola led nearly the entire way. Valpo trailed just 16-14 before a string of hitting errors allowed Loyola to increase its advantage to 22-16. The Ramblers then pulled away to win the match.
Novak led the Crusaders for the match with 13 kills, while Robinson added ten. Cyndi Norman (Minooka, Ill./Minooka H.S.) had 13 digs to pace the Brown and Gold, while dishing out 20 assists. Novak and Sara Silcox (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City H.S.) each had 21 digs, while Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) added 11 more.
Daly led the Ramblers with 16 kills, hitting .343, while Jorie Miguel added 11 kills.
Loyola (12-3) outhit Valpo .285-.123, but the Crusaders outdug the Ramblers 63-41. Loyola also outblockd Valpo 7-1.
Valparaiso (9-7) will return to action this weekend, when they host Western Illinois on Friday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center. First serve in the Mid-Continent Conference clash will take place at 7 p.m.