Despite struggling early, Valparaiso rebounded from a one-game deficit to defeat UMKC 24-30, 30-23, 30-16, 30-23 on Friday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
The visiting Kangaroos came out on fire early, hitting .412 in the opening game on the way to the victory. Valpo bounced back in game two, hitting .324 to even the match. The Crusaders appeared to come out of intermission inspired, hitting .359 in game three while holding UMKC to just .053, and fought off a resilient Kangaroo team to take the finale.
Lauren Moulton (Elgin, Ill./Larkin H.S.) continued her stellar play in Mid-Continent Conference action hitting .500 while recording a match-high 18 kills. Jessie Fox (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) added 13 kills while hitting .423 and Amy Palash (Winfield, Ill./Saint Francis H.S.) chipped in 11 more kills for the Brown and Gold. Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) dished out 50 assists.
Palash also led the Crusaders on the defensive end, as she and Sara Silcox (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City H.S.) each registered a match-high 16 digs. Fox posted six blocks at the net for Valpo, which had ten as a team.
Angela Melka led UMKC all-around, recording 14 kills and 14 digs on the evening. Vanessa Portela added 13 kills, while Lauren Starks chipped in 11 more. Mandy Tipton tallied 11 digs for the Kangaroos.
Valpo hit .293 for the match, while UMKC (4-19, 2-8 Mid-Con) cooled off after game one, and finished with a .156 hitting percentage on the night. Valpo had 62 kills and 62 digs, while the Kangaroos registered 55 and 59 respectively.
With the win, Valparaiso (21-4, 10-0) remains perfect in Mid-Con action and the Crusaders increased their lead in the standings to 2.5 games. The Crusaders will return to the floor on Saturday evening as the Crusaders host Western Illinois in a 5 p.m. Saturday is Senior Night, and Valpo's two seniors will be honored prior to the match.