Valpo lost a conference match for the first time since 2003, falling 16-30, 30-28, 30-21, 26-30, 15-7 to Oral Roberts Friday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Both teams struggled offensively in the match, with Valpo hitting .109 and Oral Roberts hitting .103. The Crusaders hit .219 in the first game, winning easily, but would hit no better than .156 the rest of the way.
First-Team All-Conference performer Ori Zuzic led the Golden Eagles (12-8, 5-1 Mid-Con) with a match-high 18 kills and 18 digs. Thais Parada had 41 assists, and both Chris Alves and Jackie Oliveira had 20-plus digs in the win.
The Valpo attack was balanced, getting four players with double-digit kills, led by Jessie Fox's (Granger, Ind./Penn) 15 kills. Fox also led a strong defensive effort with a season-high eight blocks. Jessi Novak (Antigo, Wis./Antigo) had 12 kills and a match-high 28 digs, while Katie Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) chipped in six kills, 45 assists and 22 digs.
The Brown and Gold had more blocks and more kills than the Golden Eagles, but could not recover from 37 attack errors and 10 service errors. In the deciding fifth game, the Crusaders had only two kills on 25 attacks, hitting a season-worst -.200.
Valpo last lost a conference road match November 9, 2002, and fell to a Mid-Con opponent for the first time in their last 22 regular season matches, a streak that dates back to November 7, 2003 and includes two straight conference tournament titles.
Valpo (15-5, 5-1 Mid-Con) returns to Mid-Con action Saturday night on the road for a 5:00 p.m. match against Centenary. The Crusaders return home Friday, October 21 to take on Western Illinois.