Liz Mikos (Dundee, Ill./Jacobs H.S.) acted as the catalyst on both offense and defense for Valparaiso Friday, leading the Crusaders to 3-game victories over Evansville and Chicago State at the Blue Demon Invitational, held in Chicago, Ill.
The Crusaders kicked off the tournament Friday morning with a 30-27, 30-16, 30-16 decision over Evansville (1-2). Mikos led the way offensively, hitting a blistering .733 for the match, the fourth-best performance in a 3-game match in Valpo history. She also tallied a team-high 11 kills, while Jessie Fox (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) and Amy Palash (Winfield, Ill./Saint Francis H.S.) chipped in nine apiece. Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) dished out 33 assists in the victory.
On the defensive end, Mikos recorded a match-high eight blocks, including three solos. Heidi Hammond (Crown Point, Ind./Merrillville H.S.) picked up 13 digs, while Palash added 11 for the Crusaders.
Valpo dominated the Aces in every aspect of the match. The Crusaders hit .303 for the match, including a .457 performance in game two, while limiting Evansville to a .062 hitting percentage. The Brown and Gold also outdug the Aces 56-36 and recorded nine blocks.
Valpo picked up right where they left off in their afternoon match, defeating Chicago State 30-22, 30-17, 30-19. Once again, Mikos led the Crusaders to victory, hitting .360 with 13 kills while also registering six blocks. Bova paced the Brown and Gold with 24 assists, while Hammond recorded a team-high 17 digs. Fox chipped in six blocks as well in the winning effort.
Valpo's defense overwhelmed the Cougars, as Chicago State (0-3) hit -.048 for the match, versus .207 for the Crusaders. Valpo also tallied 12 blocks, while the Cougars held a slight advantage in digs, 60-58.
Valparaiso (3-1) takes the court again for two matches Saturday, as the Brown and Gold face off against Belmont at 10 a.m. before opposing host DePaul at 7 p.m. Mikos will look to become the Crusaders' all-time blocks leader Saturday, as she currently sits at 442 career blocks, just one behind current Valpo assistant coach Heather Hynds.