The Crusaders opened their defense of three straight Mid-Continent Conference titles Friday night against Oakland at the Athletics-Recreation Center, winning 30-14, 30-20, 30-19 for their sixth win in a row over all and 25th straight on their home court.
The Brown and Gold have not lost a match at home since September 1, 2004 and have won 41 of 43 Mid-Con matches since the start of the 2003 season. The current six-match winning streak is Valpo's longest of the season.
(Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) set the tone for the match early on, hitting 1.000 in game one with seven kills on seven attacks as the Crusaders went on an 18-5 run to put the match away. Valpo hit .520 in the game, their top hitting percentage in any single game this season, and made only two errors on 25 total attacks.
The Golden Grizzlies hung tough in game two, hitting their highest percentage of the match and staying within 19-17 before an 11-3 Valpo run closed it out. In game three, the Crusaders returned to their heavy hitting ways, putting up a .417 attack percentage and coasting to a 30-19 win.
(Granger, Ind./Penn) had a big night offensively, ripping off seven kills in game two and a match-high 12 overall without making a single error. The senior hit .571 to pace a Crusader offense that hit .381, their best mark of the season.
Sears also finished in double-figures with 11 kills, just ahead of freshman Angie Porché
(Lynwood, Ill./Thornton-Fractional South) who had nine and Nicole Schulz
(Kewaskum, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran) who had eight. Porché also added four aces while Schulz chipped in a match-best four blocks and hit .353.
Amanda Morley led Oakland (0-12, 0-1 Mid-Con) with six kills and three blocks. The Golden Grizzlies hit only .072 as a team but did manage five blocks.
The Crusaders (10-5, 1-0 Mid-Con) will put all of their winning streaks on the line against longtime nemesis Oral Roberts Friday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m. at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Golden Eagles were the preseason pick to win the Mid-Con and are the last conference team to beat the Crusaders, doing so in Tulsa, Okla. last season. Friday's match will be broadcast live on 95.1 FM and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.