Valparaiso saw its perfect record against Indiana schools come to an end on Tuesday evening as the Crusaders dropped a 30-16, 30-17, 28-30, 30-26 match to Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind.
Valpo had won its first three matches of the year against in-state foes prior to the loss but could not hold off the hot-hitting Boilermakers early. The Crusaders fought back, but it was not enough to pull out the win.
Game one opened with the Crusaders staying close in the early going. A Jessi Novak (Antigo, Wis./Antigo H.S.) kill had Valpo trailing just 9-8 before the Boilermakers went on an 8-2 run to take a 17-10 lead and seize control of the opening game. Valpo was not able to inch any closer than six the rest of the way. Purdue closed with the game's final eight points on the way to recording the 30-16 win.
The Boilermakers hit a sizzling .469 in game one, with 16 kills and just one error. Kim McConaha tallied five kills in eight attempts to lead the way. Valpo managed just 11 kills, and combined with eight errors, hit just .077. Sara Silcox (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City H.S.) led the way defensively for the Crusaders with seven digs.
Valpo scored the first three points of game two, but the lead quickly dissipated. Following a Novak kill which put Valpo in front 5-3, Purdue reeled off eight straight points to build a six-point lead. The Crusaders fought back to within four, 12-8, following an Amy Palash (Winfield, Ill./Saint Francis H.S.) kill. That would be as close as the Brown and Gold would get in the game though. Purdue went on a 10-2 run to take a 22-10 lead and never looked back.
The Boilermakers cooled off ever so slightly offensively, hitting .425 in the game while notching 22 kills. Leah Wischmeier had nine herself in game two. Palash led the Crusaders with three kills, as Valpo hit just .125 with 11 kills in the game.
The third game started off similar to game two, with Valpo scoring four straight to open. Purdue responded with ten of the next 12 points to forge a 10-6 lead. The Crusader deficit teetered between three and four until a Jessie Fox (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) block closed to within one. Back-to-back attack errors by the hosts then gave Valpo the lead, 16-15, midway through. The teams then traded points until three straight Purdue kills and an ace opened up a 21-18 lead. Valpo fought back, taking advantage of six Purdue errors and a block by Fox and Palash to retake the lead, 25-22. Valpo maintained its lead and a Palash kill gave the Brown and Gold the 30-28 victory.
Valpo hit .154 in the win with 13 kills while forcing 14 Purdue errors as the Boilermakers hit just .094. The Crusaders defense registered 23 digs in the game including eight by Silcox to fight off defeat for the time being. A balance offensive attack saw no Crusader tally more than three kills in the game.
Game four opened with Valpo scoring the first two points before McConaha recorded four kills in five points to put Purdue in front by three. The Boilermakers slowly increased their lead, pushing it to six, 17-11. The Crusaders continued to fight back, again taking advantage of Purdue errors, and coupled with a Lindsey Moore (Waukarusa, Ind./Penn H.S.) kill scored the next four points. A Palash ace brought the Crusaders within two at 22-20, and an attack error by the Boilermakers cut it to one. A block by Lauren Moulton (Elgin, Ill./Larkin H.S.) and Liz Mikos (Dundee, Ill./Jacobs H.S.) tied the contest at 23. The Crusaders took the lead 26-25 following a set error, only to see Purdue score the next five points to win the game.
Valpo hit .282 in the fourth game, but could not hold down Purdue, as the Boilermakers hit .364 with 20 more kills. Moulton recorded six kills in the attempt to stave off defeat, but it was not enough. McConaha put down nine kills in game four for the Boilermakers.
Novak and Moulton led Valpo with 11 and 12 kills respectively, while Fox added nine more. Silcox had 26 digs for the Brown and Gold, while Novak completed her double-double with 14 digs. Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) dished out 44 assists.
Purdue (5-2) was led by Wischmeier with 24 kills. She hit .435 while McConaha hit .340 with 23 kills. Samantha Mader also had 14 kills and hit .440 for Purdue. Daren Poe recorded a match-high 27 digs, while Brittany Dildine added 18. Renata Dargan dished out 67 assists.
Valparaiso (6-3) will look to rebound on Friday evening with a 7 p.m. match at Saint Louis.