Valparaiso fought off two game points late in the third game to complete a three-game sweep of Oakland 30-22, 30-15, 31-29 Friday night in Rochester, Mich.
The win was Valpo's 21st straight in Mid-Continent Conference regular season play and the 26th straight against Mid-Con opponents. In addition, Valpo has a streak of 19 consecutive Mid-Con road victories.
The first game went back and forth, as the Golden Grizzlies were within one point at 21-20 before the Crusaders put together an 8-1 run to wrap up the game. Valpo did not wait as long to attack in the second game, using an early six-point run to take the lead and closing the game on another six-point run. Oakland led almost the entire third game, including two game points at 29-27, but a kill by Jessi Novak (Antigo, Wis./Antigo H.S.) and a trio of attack errors by the Grizzlies clinched the match for the Crusaders.
Jessie Fox (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) paced Valpo's offense, hitting at a .320 pace with 12 kills, while Amy Palash (Winfield, Ill./Saint Francis H.S.) chipped in 11 kills. Palash also recorded 13 digs, one of four Crusaders in double-digits, for her tenth double-double of the season, and three blocks.
Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) had a solid all-around match for the Brown and Gold, registering a match-high 32 assists to go along with ten digs and six kills, as well as hitting .400. Libero Brittany Marks (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial H.S.) led the Valpo defense with 15 digs, as the Crusaders held Oakland (3-17, 2-3 Mid-Con) to a .073 hitting percentage for the match.
Adrienne Leone put together a double-double for the Golden Grizzlies in the losing effort, notching a team-high 11 kills and also recording 16 digs.
The Crusaders won despite only registering three total blocks for the match, a season-low for the team. Liz Mikos (Dundee, Ill./Jacobs H.S.) finished a match without a block for the first time since Nov. 14, 2003 against Oakland, breaking a string of 55 consecutive matches with at least one block.
Valparaiso (15-4, 5-0 Mid-Con) returns to the court next Friday, traveling to Tulsa, Okla. to take on Oral Roberts. First serve in the Mid-Con battle is slated for 7 p.m.