For the second straight match at the Cyclone Classic in Ames, Iowa, the Crusaders were on the wrong end of a three-game decision, losing 30-27, 31-29, 30-28 to South Dakota State Saturday afternoon.
Valpo was right in all three games, but each time came up just short on the match's most crucial points. The most important stretch of the match came late in game two when the Crusaders led 29-24 before the Jackrabbits took seven straight points and grabbed control of the match at 2-0.
Much like in Friday's loss to host Iowa State, the Crusaders could not get going offensively, hitting only .125 for the match and making 30 attack errors. Nicole Schulz
(Kewaskum, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran) was the lone Crusader standout on the offensive end, hitting .346 with a team-high 13 kills on only 26 attacks.
Schulz also led a very strong Valpo defense with six blocks, including one solo. The Crusaders tallied 12.0 blocks for the match, getting five from Allison Sears
(Elkhart, Ind./Memorial), and three apiece from Angie Porché
(Lynwood, Ill./Thornton-Fractional South) and Jessie Fox
Sears and Porché each also finished in double-figures in kill totals, with Sears picking up 12 and Porché adding 10. The freshman Porché has now recorded double-digit kills in eight of nine matches this season, and continues to lead the Brown and Gold with 116 kills on the season. Porché also led all players Saturday with four aces.
Valpo's sophomore libero Brittany Marks
(Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) also did a fine job defensively with 15 digs to lead all Crusaders. Sara Hughes
(San Antonio, Texas/Perrysburg, Ohio, H.S.) added five digs and had 34 assists.
Kristina Martin led the Jackrabbits (7-2) with 15 kills, and Angie Ridenour had 11 kills and a match-high 17 digs. South Dakota State will meet Iowa State later Saturday to determine the champion at the three-team Cyclone Classic.
Valpo (4-5) has one more match in Iowa at 7:00 p.m. Saturday night, taking on Drake in Des Moines. That match can be heard live on 95.1 FM and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.