Even a fire to the team's bus prior to the match was unable to prevent Valparaiso from finishing of the Mid-Continent Conference season perfect as the Crusaders defeated Oakland 30-23, 30-17, 32-30 on Friday evening in Rochester, Mich.
With the victory, Valpo improves to 26-4 overall and finishes a perfect 14-0 in Mid-Con play.
The Crusaders' team bus caught on fire as Valpo arrived on campus. Smoke was quickly filling the bus, but the team unloaded quickly and was unharmed. The local fire department arrived to put out the electrical fire that was taking place underneath the bus.
When the match got underway, Valpo took control quickly. The Crusaders hit .213 for the night, paced by Amy Palash's (Winfield, Ill./Saint Francis H.S.) ten kills and .450 hitting percentage. She also added 11 digs.
Jessi Novak (Antigo, Wis./Antigo H.S.) tallied a match-high 11 kills. Liz Mikos (Dundee, Ill./Jacobs H.S.) added nine kills and four blocks, while Lauren Moulton (Elgin, Ill./Larkin H.S.) added five blocks. Sara Silcox (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City H.S.) had a match-high 15 digs, while Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) dished out 41 assists.
Heather Lippert led Oakland (5-24, 3-11 Mid-Con) with eight kills and four blocks while hitting .400. Becca Moller had 13 digs for the Golden Grizzlies.
Valparaiso had 24 more kills, 55-31, than Oakland, and outdug the hosts 54-45.
Valparaiso will conclude the regular season on Saturday night against Central Michigan in a 6 p.m. match in Mount Pleasant, Mich.