For the seventh time in the last four years, the Valpo volleyball team has won an in-season tournament; capturing the Chicagoland Classic title Saturday night with an exciting 25-30, 30-25, 28-30, 30-23, 15-6 win over Loyola (Chicago) in Chicago, Ill.
The Brown and Gold have won two in-season tournaments each of the last three seasons, and have four remaining this year including next weekend's Shamrock Invitational in Notre Dame, Ind.
Saturday, the Ramblers dominated game one, never trailing and hitting a match-best .283 in the game. But it would be a different story from there on out as Valpo rolled in games two and four, dropping a back-and-forth third game in between. Game five was all Crusaders, as Valpo notched 10 of the final 11 points to turn a 5-5 score into a 15-6 win, hitting a sizzling .600 for the game.
Freshman Angie Porché
(Lynwood, Ill./Thornton-Fractional South) continued her breakout play with a 15-kill night, hitting .353. In her first three collegiate matches, Porché has reached double-digit kills each time and is hitting .255.
Sophomore Allison Sears
(Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) and junior Nicole Schulz
(Kewaskum, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran) also continued their coming out parties with big nights Saturday. Sears put down 13 kills and piled up a career-high seven blocks, while Schulz broke her career-high from Friday night with 15 kills and set a new career mark with six blocks. Setter Sara Hughes
(San Antonio, Texas/Perrysburg, Ohio, H.S.) also set a career-high with 57 assists and libero Brittany Marks
(Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) had a career-high 26 digs.
(Cottage Grove, Wis./Monona Grove) had her best match of the weekend Saturday with 12 kills, hitting .379, three aces and nine digs. Jessie Fox
(Granger, Ind./Penn), one of two Crusader seniors, also chipped in offensively with her third straight double-digit kill night, finishing with 12 kills and two blocks. Fox posted a team-high 42 kills along with 11 blocks in the tournament.
The Crusaders hit .256 for the match, nearly 100 points higher than Loyola (Chicago), and had 11 blocks to seven for the Ramblers (1-2). Keily Zins and Audrey Davis paced the Loyola (Chicago) offense with 15 kills apiece.
For Valpo (3-0), the next week marks one of the toughest stretches the program has ever seen, as the Crusaders will meet three ranked opponents over a two-day span at Notre Dame, beginning with #6 Santa Clara on Friday, September 1 at 11:00 a.m. All of the action Friday and Saturday can be heard live on 95.1 FM, WVUR, and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.