Even without head coach Carin Avery on the sidelines, Valparaiso cruised to a 30-15, 30-19, 30-17 sweep of UMKC on Friday evening in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament semifinals at the Athletics-Recreation Center, setting up a title showdown with Oral Roberts on Saturday night.
With Avery listening on the internet from the hospital after giving birth to her first child, Alex Roddy, on Thursday afternoon, assistant coach Sue Ushela led the Crusaders to the victory.
Valpo jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead in the opening game and never looked back, hitting .308 on the evening while holding the Kangaroos to just .046 hitting.
The Brown and Gold also jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead in game two and used a 9-1 run early in game three to solidify the victory.
Michelle Robinson (Bloomington, Ill./Normal H.S.) posted 14 kills while hitting .344 for the Crusaders, while Marion Hansen (Huntley, Ill./Huntley H.S.) added 11 kills, hitting .391.
Liz Mikos (Dundee, Ill./Jacobs H.S.) added eight kills and four blocks, while Cyndi Norman (Minooka, Ill./Minooka H.S.) tallied a double-double with 35 assists and ten digs. Norman also recorded six kills in seven attempts for an .857 hitting percentage.
Sara Silcox (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City H.S.) and Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) each led Valpo with 11 digs.
Sara Foster led UMKC (8-25) with eight kills, while Lindsey Zerr tallied 11 digs for the Kangaroos.
With the win, Valparaiso improves to 26-7 on the season, tying a school record for victories in a season. The Crusaders will take on Oral Roberts (21-12) for the Mid-Continent Conference Championship Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. The Golden Eagles were a victor over IUPUI in three games (32-30, 30-26, 30-24) in the evening's first semifinal match.