Seniors Alex Chism (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central [Miami Univ.]) and Jessie Fox (Granger, Ind./Penn) closed out their Crusader careers with two wins Saturday at the Miami Thanksgiving Invitational in Oxford, Ohio. Valparaiso defeated Fairfield in the morning match, 30-21, 30-27, 30-21, before downing the hosts in the afternoon, 30-24, 27-30, 30-20, 30-24 to earn its third in-season tournament title of the season.
Saturday's two wins send Chism and Fox out as the winningest class in Valpo volleyball history, with a 106-33 record (.763) in their tenure as Crusaders. Fox ends her four-year career with 1,077 kills, 2,835 attacks, 417 total blocks, 58 solo blocks, and a .255 hitting percentage. She ranks seventh all-time at Valpo in kills, tenth in attacks, third in total blocks, seventh in solo blocks and fifth in hitting percentage. Chism closes out her three years at Valpo with 445 digs.
Tournament MVP Nicole Schulz (Kewaskum, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran) stood out in both matches for the Crusaders. Schulz tallied 19 kills on .438 hitting against Fairfield and followed with a 22-kill, four-block effort against the hosts. She ends the season with a .334 hitting percentage, tops in a single season in Valpo history, 443 kills, seventh-best on Valpo's single-season chart, and 126 blocks, tied for eighth in a season at Valpo.
Joining Schulz on the All-Tournament Team were Sara Hughes (San Antonio, Texas/Perrysburg, Ohio H.S.] and Allison Sears (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial). Hughes dished out 95 assists and registered 17 digs over the two matches, and finished the season with 1,388 assists, fifth-best in a single season in Crusader history. Sears hit at a .583 clip against Miami, knocking down 15 kills with just one attack error, and finished the day with 29 kills on .462 hitting. Her hitting percentage against Miami ranks third-best in a four-game match all-time at Valpo.
Brittany Marks (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) finished her record-setting season in style, notching game-high totals with 12 digs against Fairfield and 23 digs versus Miami. Marks ends the season with 675 digs, tops all-time at Valpo and the second-best single-season total in Mid-Continent Conference history. Marks also registered 47 service aces, tying her for ninth on Valpo's single-season list in the category.
Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) closed out her freshman campaign with a stellar performance against Miami, leading all players with 24 kills and hitting at a .463 clip. Porché, a first-team All Mid-Con selection, led Valpo on the season with 480 kills, third-best in a single season all-time at Valpo, and became the first freshman to pace the Crusaders in the category in 15 years.
The Crusaders got the job done on Saturday with standout offensive performances. Valpo hit at a .286 clip in the sweep of Fairfield, and posted a .380 hitting percentage in the win over Miami, the second-best hitting percentage in a four-game match in school history. The two matches helped propel Valpo's season hitting percentage to .239, breaking the previous single-season record of .235. The 2006 Crusaders also set program records for kills in a season (2,070) and assists in a season (1,928).
Valparaiso closes out the 2006 campaign with a 23-12 record, the fifth consecutive season that the Crusaders have posted at least 20 wins.