Valparaiso saw its 2003 volleyball season come to a close on Friday evening, dropping a 30-19, 30-22, 30-21 contest to #9 Nebraska in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament in East Lansing, Mich.
The Crusaders appeared unintimidated by the Cornhuskers from the beginning of the match, and after a Lindsey Moore (Wakarusa, Ind./Penn H.S.) ace, Valpo tied the game one at four points a piece. Nebraska spread its offense around in game one, and after a 9-4 run, took an 18-11 advantage. The teams traded sideouts several times, and a Michelle Robinson (Bloomington, Ill./Normal H.S.) kill closed the gap to five, 20-15. Five straight points pushed Nebraska's advantage up to ten, and the Cornhuskers closed out the game with a 30-19 victory. The Cornhuskers hit .487 with 21 kills, led by six by Dani Mancuso in eight attempts. Valpo hit .194 with 11 kills. Marion Hansen (Huntley, Ill./Huntley H.S.) had five digs for the Brown and Gold, which had 12 total for the game.
The Crusaders had a chance to pull out game two. With Nebraska leading 16-12, the Crusaders went on an 8-2 run and after Sarah Schmalz (Corona, Calif./Riverside Christian H.S.) and Robinson recorded a block, Valpo had a 20-18 advantage. The Crusaders still held a two-point advantage, 22-20, before Nebraska earned a sideout and Mancuso served nine straight points to run out the game 30-22. Valpo hit .000 with nine errors, while the Cornhuskers hit .302 with 19 kills. Both teams tallied 16 digs in the game, and Valpo took advantage of five Nebraska service errors.
Game three started with Valpo taking a quick 4-2 lead after Lauren Moulton (Elgin, Ill./Larkin H.S.), Liz Mikos (Dundee, Ill./Jacobs H.S.) and Robinson combined on a block. Nebraska rallied and utilized a 5-0 burst to build an 18-10 lead. Four quick points from the Brown and Gold, keyed by a pair of blocks by Mikos and Moulton, along with a Moulton kill brough Valpo back to within 18-14. The Cornhuskers scored four of the next five points, and ran off five straight late in the game to post a 30-21 win. Nebraska hit .212 in the final game, while Valpo hit .049. Anna Schrad tallied nine of the Cornhuskers 20 kills in the game.
Robinson led the Crusaders offensively with ten kills, while Moulton added eight kills, and a team-high four blocks defensively. Sara Silcox (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City H.S.) and Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) each tallied 11 digs for the Brown and Gold and Cyndi Norman (Minooka, Ill./Minooka H.S.) dished out 26 assists.
Schrad led Nebraska with 15 kills while hitting .483, and Mancuso added 14 kills hitting .571 on the evening. Jennifer Saleaumua led the Cornhuskers with 15 digs, while Dani Busboon dished out 25 assists.
For the match Nebraska hit .321 with 60 kills compared with Valpo's .073 hitting night posting 29 kills. Valpo outdug the Cornhuskers 50-49, but Nebraska held an 11-7 blocking advantage. Nebraska (27-4) also recorded seven service aces, but committed 12 service errors, while the Crusaders put every serve in play on the evening, tallying two aces.
Valparaiso's best season in school history comes to a close with a 27-8 record.